Paddy Pimblett rocked the O2 Arena on Saturday night, defeating Jordan Leavitt through second-round submission to continue his rise as one of the most popular MMA characters.
“The Baddy,” who became the first person in Leavitt’s career to stop him, extended his record to 19-3 after submitting his opponent with a rear-naked choke.
Pimblett later paid tribute to his friend Ricky, who committed suicide two days ago, as well as young fan Lee, who died later of leukemia. When Molly McCann arrived, he was displayed on her shirt.
“I want to dedicate this fight to little baby Lee, he’s a little warrior, more of a fighter than any of us will ever be,” he said.
“I woke up on Friday morning at 4am to a message that one of my friends had [died]. So Ricky lad, that’s for you.
“There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk. Listen, if you’re a man, please speak to someone, speak to anyone. I’d rather my mate cry on my shoulder than go to his funeral next week.”
Leavitt had been eager to use his wrestling skills to counter Pimblett’s strength from the start. However, it was the Liverpool star who won the first round after repeatedly threatening the guillotine and the rear naked choke.
A similar theme continued in the second until Pimblett landed a knee to the head before pouncing on the opportunity to successfully lock in the rear naked choke.