Forget Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev, UFC 282 Is The Paddy Pimblett Show

Paddy "The Baddy" Pimblett fights Jared Gordon at UFC 282.

It really is the perfect setup for Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett to prove his worth.

The lightweight lad from Liverpool who has taken the UFC by storm, Pimblett fights in the UFC 282 co-main event on Saturday (December 10, 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST on ESPN+ PPV), and it’s time to really see what “The Baddy” can do on Pay Per View, against his toughest opponent to date.

Now, if you’ve been following the UFC for the last year or so, there’s no doubt you’re already quite familiar with Pimblett. He’s been the promotion’s fastest riser since debuting with the UFC in 2021.

Mopped and topped, and thoroughly all things Scouser, Paddy “The Baddy” isn’t just a brash Englishman whose name echoes to the beat and tune of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” in every arena he packs. He’s also a showman in the cage, collecting three finishes and three Performance of the Night bonuses in his first three UFC fights.

“The Baddy” has, kind of, become all the rage in the mixed martial arts world after two electrifying performances in London in 2022, and UFC 282 is a major test for Pimblett, at least in terms of his long term popularity and career trajectory.

The Backstory

After the original UFC 282 main event, a rematch between former light heavyweight champions Jiri Prochazka and Glover Teixeira, was scratched due to injury, Pimblett has been elevated to the main attraction at the UFC’s final PPV card of 2022, even if his name isn’t atop the marquee.

See, there is an actual championship bout headlining the UFC 282 PPV main card. Former champion Jan Blachowicz will face the surging Magomed Ankalaev for the vacant light heavyweight title. And, while that’s a cool fight between two legit light heavyweight contenders, it’s really kind of an afterthought in some way.

The real focus remains on Pimblett, and if he really is the “Cash Cow” he’s claimed himself to be.

The Fight

With three UFC appearances under his belt, Pimblett has looked impressive in the Octagon. Sure, he gets hit a little too much sometimes, but whether it’s with the hands or on the ground (where he is most dominant), “The Baddy” has found a way to win every time out. Haters will say it’s easy matchmaking, that the UFC is giving him layups to dunk home, but the reality is, it’s actually really good matchmaking, giving Paddy winnable fights where he gets tested from time to time.

The UFC 282 co-main event is no exception, as Jared “Flash” Gordon, Paddy’s opponent on Saturday, is a savvy battle-tested veteran, who is both smaller, older, and significantly more shop-worn than Pimblett. It’s not an easy fight, but certainly one that is very winnable for “The Baddy.”

The Opponent

Just calling Gordon “beatable,” is a rather crude overstatement of his career body of work. “Flash” has fought in the Octagon 11 times, and faced some of the very best, including former UFC lightweight champion Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira. He’s basically seen everything (and by everything, I mean he used to shoot heroin in the locker room before training) both inside the cage and out, so there’s no chance he shies away from the fight on Saturday.

Gordon, one of the stars of 2020’s Fight Island: Declassified, is a legit opponent for Pimblett at this stage of their careers. He’s a tough guy with solid skills everywhere who will give Paddy a solid scrap. But, in the end, there’s a reason why “The Baddy” is listed as a -265 favorite. He’s bigger, he’s longer, and has better Jiu Jitsu. He’s probably a bit better on the feet too. Crisper with his strikes, even if he does wing some punches from time to time, looping hooks that make his guard penetrable.

And then there’s the charisma …

The Baddy

Sure, charm and character won’t win Pimblett any actual fights, but Paddy’s persona elevated him to the superstar career trajectory and treatment before he ever stepped foot in the Octagon, and the UFC is hoping to turn “The Baddy” into their newest worldwide megastar.

It’s actually been a while since the UFC has promoted a fighter with Paddy’s level of cache and media savvy (Conor McGregor really may be the most recent example), and they seem to be going all in on the lightweight from Liverpool. Unfortunately, that also means other media companies have been championing Pimblett, even some of the less reputable ones (hint: something you’d sit on at place where you might drink a beer and watch sports), which has opened Paddy up to some legit disdain from fans who want to see his hype train derailed.

But see, in the fight game, that polarization can be a good thing. Sure, Pimblett has made some uncouth, even downright ignorant, comments about immigration in the UK. But then, he’s also used his platform to shine a spotlight on a suicide epidemic, saving lives in the process.

Love him, or hate him, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett is already on his way to becoming one of the biggest fight personalities in all of mixed martial arts, but now the question is, can he keep winning inside the cage.

The Analysis

There is no reason Paddy Pimblett shouldn’t win his fight over Jared Gordon on the UFC 282 PPV.

If he can stay calm early and use his reach advantage to touch Gordon up on the feet, Pimblett should be able to find an opening for a takedown.

Gordon does have decent defensive wrestling and BJJ, but Pimblett’s size advantage will be too much for “Flash,” as “The Baddy” will likely get takedowns midway through the first and second rounds.

On the mat, Pimblett will smother and overwhelm Gordon, constantly searching for submission attempts. He won’t find the choke right away, and Gordon will put up a good fight, but at some point in the second round, “The Baddy” will either find the rear naked choke submission, or earn the TKO via ground and pound.

This, of course, is a rather rough analysis, but it’s a very likely scenario, given styles and skill sets.

In Summation

This is a huge spot for Pimblett, who is already making waves on UFC 282 fight week, after having UFC president Dana White on his podcast. It’s really almost one of those “must win” fights because a loss to Gordon, who sits somewhere around number-27 in the worldwide lightweight rankings, would be a tremendous setback.

Paddy and the UFC have real long term plans, and a loss at this stage would completely undo all the work the fighter and promotion have done to build his name over the last 15 months. And, with UFC 286 already announced for London in March 2023, it’s important that Paddy earn an emphatic win to close out the year before bringing that momentum back home in the new year.

The Editorial

Personally, I fully expect Paddy Pimblett to dominate Jared Gordon at UFC 282. The matchup has basically been tailor made as a showcase for “The Baddy,” so it’s not just a win that I’m anticipating, but rather a spectacular finish (maybe even a technical submission).

I guess that’s not really much of an editorial, but if you’re already following UFC 282 fight week, you know it has already turned into the Paddy “The Baddy” show.

See, Paddy is one of those supernova fighters who only come around every once in a while, so the UFC has been very selective of how, when and where they use him. Up until now, that’s meant some favorable matchups, in London, where he sells thousands of tickets;. But, this week, it means carrying an entire Pay Per View card since the headliners aren’t particularly big sellers.

So, it’s time to really see what Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett is really worth. If he can smoke Gordon at UFC 282, Paddy can move one more step up into tougher competition, but more importantly, if he can sell PPVs, well, if he can sell Pay Per Views, that might be a better career trajectory than trying to win a title in the deepest and toughest division in MMA.

UFC 282 Fight Card

UFC 282 Pay Per View Main Card (on ESPN+ PPV) 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST

  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalev – for the UFC light heavyweight tile
  • Paddy Pimblett vs. Jared Gordon
  • Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Alex Morono
  • Darren Till vs. Dricus du Plessis
  • Bryce Mitchell vs. Ilia Topuria

UFC 282 Prelims (on ESPN+ & ESPN) 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST

  • Chris Daukus vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
  • Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Jay Perrin
  • Edmen Shabazyan vs. Dalcha Lungiambula
  • Chris Curtis vs. Joaquin Buckley

UFC 282 Early Prelims (on ESPN+ & ESPN) 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m. EST

  • Billy Quarantillo vs. Alexander Hernandez
  • T.J. Brown vs. Erik Silva
  • Vinicius Salvador vs. Daniel da Silva
  • Cameron Saaiman vs. Steven Koslow

* fight card subject to change
** all odds current as of time of writing

Dan Shapiro is a writer, editor, musician, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. In addition to covering some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, he’s also hunted down the world’s best sushi, skied the northern hemisphere in July, and chronicled Chinese underground music for publications like CNN, the New York Daily News, VICE, and Time Out. Dan also conjured up a ghost at the Chateau Marmont while out on assignment for RoadTrippers. Follow him on Twitter here.

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