Can Paddy Pimblett grab chance to shine under the Las Vegas lights?
Can Paddy Pimblett grab his chance to shine under the Las Vegas lights? A win in the co-main event slot at UFC 282 will show ‘The Baddy’ is a serious player in talent-stacked lightweight division
- Paddy Pimblett remains undefeated after three fights since signing for UFC
- Next up is a clash with Jared Gordon in the co-main event of a numbered card
- The spotlight will burn bright and his elevation shows how far Pimblett has risen
- Victory on the big stage would see the Liverpool fighter take biggest leap yet
Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett could take a gigantic leap forward under the bright lights of Las Vegas on Saturday night at UFC 282.
His fight with Jared Gordon has been elevated to the co-main event and is a massive platform on which to showcase his talent.
Even though the 27-year-old’s UFC career remains in its infancy, three flashy finishes in a row and the charisma on the mic to go with them, has seen Pimblett’s popularity soar.
Paddy Pimblett is preparing for his clash with Jared Gordon this Saturday night at UFC 282
Pimblett has enjoyed a stellar year so far with two victories, both finishes, in London
Dana White and the UFC know they have a true star on their hands, and perhaps the only fighter on the current roster who could have the cross-over appeal Conor McGregor once harnessed.
But that shine can be instantly dimmed with a defeat by Gordon, who is seen as the slight underdog by bookmakers.
Pimblett has aspirations beyond his 34-year-old American opponent and is predicting a swift night of work.
He told UFC Countdown: ‘He just isn’t on my level and I’m going to finish Jared Gordon.
‘He’s getting finished in the first round and everyone will finally realise who the f***ing boy is.’
And the 27-year-old lightweight then added on UFC Embedded: ‘I can’t wait to put on a show for everyone in the T-Mobile Arena. I’m going to have everyone on their feet screaming my name, blowing the roof off like I do.
‘When it comes to MMA there are levels. People think that I’m a hype train and that the UFC are pushing me.
‘Just a little breakdown of this crab I’m fighting. He tries to pitter-patter his way to a win. I try and knock you clean out with one shot, and that’s what I’m going to do.
‘Jared Gordon, I respect you. I like you as a person. But as a fighter, you’re not on my level, bro, and I’m coming to take your chin home with me.’
The Liverpool fighter has finished all of his opponents in the UFC so far
‘I’m a better striker. I’ve got better jiu-jitsu. I’ve got better wrestling. I’m going to have the whole crowd behind me.
‘He’s going to be like, ‘What’s going on here? We’re in America and everyone is backing him. But he is a good fighter. He is. But as I say, there’s levels to this game.’
But Michael Bisping has urged Pimblett not to take Gordon for granted. The American has won four of his last five and is certainly no slouch.
He is a step up in class from Jordan Leavitt and Rodrigo Vargas, who Pimblett put to the sword in London this year.
And the ex-middleweight champion Bisping said on his YouTube channel: ‘I think it might be a tougher matchup than what Paddy thinks.’
‘I think Paddy potentially is underestimating him. Now when I say underestimating him, I don’t mean that he’s taking it easy, and he’s kicking back in training, and he’s not pushing himself to the limit, and all the rest of it.
‘Paddy has got eyes on being the champion. Paddy is pushing himself to the absolute goddamn limit because the opponent right now isn’t Jared Gordon. The opponent is the mission. The opponent is this journey, this wave that he wants to ride towards being a UFC champion, a legend in the sport, a Hall of Famer, and, of course, retiring with millions and millions and millions of dollars in the bank. As I say, being a legend.
Jared Gordon is looking forward to an ‘action-packed encounter with the Liverpool native
Pimblett can elevate his status to another level with a co-main event win in Las Vegas
‘He’s not underestimating or undertraining, should I say, but he might be mentally underestimating,’ continued Bisping. ‘He says he’s going to knock him out in the first round. I don’t know about that. I honestly don’t think he will knock him out inside the first round, but this is going to be a tough fight. Jared Gordon’s no walk in the park.’
And while Gordon respect’s Pimblett’s ability, he also sees flaws to exploit, telling the UFC: ‘He goes for it, he’s not afraid, he’s funky, but he also has a lot of holes. I’ve been working to exploit those holes and that’s what’s going to happen.
‘I know I’m the more technically sound fighter, I know I’m the better fighter, but he’s unpredictable, so I’m just going to have to be cautious.
‘I see it being gritty at first and then he starts to fade, and then I just smother him with pressure on the feet, pressure on top.’
Given Pimblett’s rounded ability on the feet and the ground, it will be fascinating to see where the fight goes.
Pimblett remains undefeated since signing with the UFC and is looking to move to 4-0
At 27, he is still learning and developing all the time with greater tests on the horizon and the likes of Islam Makhachev still some way off.
But it will be harder for Pimblett’s detractors to back-up their arguments if he cuts through Gordon as he predicts.
It is not a gilded path or red carpet the UFC have rolled out for their burgeoning star. Lightweight is a division teeming with sharks but Saturday could show where Pimblett measures up among the big fish.
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