- One of the UFC’s best signings of the year, Paddy Pimblett, makes his promotional debut Saturday.
- The 26-year-old told Insider he intends to hurt his opponent and put on a show.
- “I can’t see him getting out of the first round,” Pimblett said of Luigi Vendramini.
Paddy Pimblett is predicting a first-round finish over his “bang average” opponent Luigi Vendramini on his UFC debut at the Apex in Las Vegas Saturday.
The 26-year-old Englishman set the European MMA scene ablaze when he achieved two-weight champion status in Cage Warriors, a feat previously accomplished by Conor McGregor, who left the London-based fight company in 2013 to join the UFC.
Pimblett signed for the UFC in March after years of industry rumors that a switch was imminent.
Earlier in the year he told Insider that he’s not just the best UFC signing of the year, but also the most significant one of the decade.
He enters the Octagon on Saturday with self-belief, hype, and fanfare, but because of COVID-19 restrictions he’ll have to compete behind closed doors, away from his home country, where he has built an extraordinary base of support.
Regardless, he remains as confident as ever that he’ll steal the show.
“They know who the boy is, it’s that simple,” Pimblett told Insider this week, beaming with pride at being the fighter to open the main card on ESPN+.
He said he’s been “champing at the bit” to make his UFC debut since his first-round submission win over Davide Martinez on March 20 — his last fight for the Cage Warriors brand.
“I thought my debut would be sooner, but after my last fight I went fat and needed a bit of time to get the weight off. I’m just champing at the bit to get in there and put on a show.”
Vendramini, Pimblett’s Saturday opponent, is a Brazilian lightweight with five knockouts and four submissions from nine wins. Three of his 12 fights have been in UFC competition — two of which have been losses.
In his trash talk, Pimblett downplayed Vendramini’s abilities, saying the Brazilian’s pro MMA record was a facade as his only true results are the three fights he had in the UFC, rather than the promotions he previously fought in.
“I’ve watched his UFC fights,” Pimblett said. “There’s no point in watching his fights in Brazil, where he’s fighting bums. Some of the records of those opponents is just embarrassing. I think he’s bang average.”
“I’m better at him everywhere the fight goes — striking, wrestling, jiu jitsu. Wherever he wants to play out the fight, we’ll play out the fight. I can’t see him getting out of the first round.”
Though Pimblett described his UFC debut as “business as usual,” he admitted he’s stepped camp up a level because of the competition at the Las Vegas-based company.
“I’m in the best shape, the best camp, of my life,” he said. “I’m absolutely going to hurt Vendramini, and steal the show.
“I cannot wait to announce myself to the UFC audience.”