Monday 24 October 2016

Fighter who placed bet on beating Conor McGregor by 2020 has won a title once held by the 'Notorious'

Tom Rooney

Published 11/09/2016 | 08:44

New Cage Warriors featherweight champion Paddy Pimblett. Courtesy of @PatrickPimblett
New Cage Warriors featherweight champion Paddy Pimblett. Courtesy of @PatrickPimblett

Rising star Paddy Pimblett has already placed a sizeable wager that, by end of 2020, he’ll have defeated Conor McGregor, and last night the Liverpool native spectacularly clinched a world title once held by the Dubliner.

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In the case of Paddy Pimblett, looks are most certainly deceiving. His bowled blonde mane frames a face bereft of even the slightest hint of peach-fuzz, let alone the sort of hirsute profile so en vogue with prize-fighters.

However, at just 21, Pimblett has established himself as a genuine force on the European circuit and, last night, in front of a raucous hometown crown, he assumed the vacant Cage Warriors featherweight title at the expense of French veteran Johnny Frachey.

Incredibly, Pimblett was just eight when the Frenchman made his professional bow, but it was the latter that looked like a novice at the Echo Arena.

Pimblett made his way to the cage already in full celebratory mode – dancing, engaging the crowd and sporting a broad, beaming smile.

But, once the referee signalled the start of the bout, he was all business. Primarily lauded as a grappler - half of his 12 career wins have come by way of submission - Pimblett initially attempted in vain to take the fight to the mat.

But he adapted and, after leaping forward with an off target flying knee, Pimblett landed a clubbing let hook that sent Frachey to the canvas. He continued the assault with a series of ground strikes before referee Rich Mitchell called a halt to the action after just 95 seconds.

Pimblett then vaulted the cage and joined the jubilant, 4,000-strong crowd in celebrating his victory.

As featherweight champion of the promotion owned by Cork native Graham Boylan, he is in good company, as three of his predecessors have gone on to the UFC - Jim Aliers, Alex Enlund and, most notably, Conor McGregor.

Following his win, Pimblett, who placed a large bet for charity with Paddy Power that he will best McGregor within the next four years, led those in attendance in a chorus of ‘Justice for the ’96,’ a tribute to the people who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster.

In truth, Pimblett must significantly refine his skill-set before even being mentioned in the same breath as McGregor and, should the UFC recruit him, he’ll be faced with a level of competition patently absent from the continental scene.

Still, the omens are good for ‘Paddy the Baddy’.

Incidentally, Irish UFC vets Cathal Pendred, Neil Seery, Joe Duffy, Aisling Daly and Paul Redmond all made their way to the top table of MMA via Cage Warriors. Seery and Pendred were also champions in the organisation.

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