With his floppy blond locks and explosive charisma to match his fight-ending power, Paddy Pimblett delivered a UFC debut on Saturday that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Pimblett (17-3), a 26-year-old native of Liverpool, England, was lit up and rocked early in Round 1 before surging late to finish Brazil’s Luigi Vendramini via first-round TKO in their lightweight bout at UFC Fight Night at the Apex in Las Vegas.
“I am here to take over,” Pimblett said. “I’m the new cash cow, I’m the new name on the UFC roster. It’s that simple. I’m the new man now. People are going to be calling me out.”
A former Cage Warriors champion who goes by the nickname “Paddy the Baddy,” Pimblett entered his first trip to the Octagon with plenty of hype given his brash personality and exciting style. But Vendramini (9-3) nearly spoiled his best-laid plans when the 25-year-old avoided early head kick attempts by Pimblett to rock him with a big right hand.
Vendramini went on to land a left hook and a two-punch combination that exposed Pimblett’s defensive holes and upright chin. Pimblett attempted to shoot by grabbing a high crotch and trying to kick out Vendramini’s other leg, but his lone takedown attempt was eventually stuffed.
Lucky for Pimblett, he retained his poise and kept punching. An overhand right shook Vendramini and a flying knee to the face backed him up to the cage. Another right hand from Pimblett would’ve dropped Vendramini had it not been for the fence and Pimblett followed with an unanswered flurry of eight punches to drop his opponent and call an end to the fight at 4:25 of the opening round.
“I’m a scouser, we don’t get knocked out,” Pimblett said. “Dana [White], [Sean] Shelby let’s get back to the U.K. Get your boy in the main event or the co-main and I’ll blow the roof off the place.”