Image licensed from USA Today Sports
Photo Credits: Dolly Clew
Headlining the stacked Cage Warriors 96 card in the Echo Arena, Liverpool, is one of the best European fights in recent years. The highly marketable hometown hero, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett, takes on rough and rugged Danish grappler, Soren “The True Viking” Bak. Who will come out on top?
Exciting Fighter, Exciting Talker
With a big personality and all-action fighting style, it’s no surprise Paddy Pimblett has amassed a following - particularly in his native Liverpool.
While Pimblett is comfortable wherever the fight takes place, his core strength is unquestionably his jiu-jitsu. In his last fight against Alexis Savvidis, a young but tough opponent fighting out of Athens, Greece, Pimblett scored a spectacular flying armbar finish. However, there were some dicey moments where Pimblett found himself eating hammer fists while on bottom position and he also had to defend against an armbar.
Pimblett’s submission over position grappling style makes for great entertainment, but it could be problematic against Soren Bak, who has a wrestling base and is heavy from top position.
On the feet, Pimblett is still a work in progress. He possesses a diverse offense, including unpredictable switch and question mark kicks that catch opponents by surprise, but he’s open defensively. Nad Narimani, who now fights in the UFC, popped Pimblett’s head back like a Pez dispenser with straight punches throughout their five round featherweight title fight.
It’s intriguing to guess what kind of game plan the team at Next Generation UK will develop for Pimblett in order to take out this tough Danish opponent.
The Viking Invasion
In typical viking style, Soren Bak doesn’t mind travelling to the UK and playing the role of the villain. With the crowd against him, he showcased excellent wrestling and positional awareness to ground Martin Stapleton and submit him via rear-naked choke.
This is a consistent theme in Bak’s fights. Having wrestled from a young age, the Dane has an excellent double leg takedown and consistently advances to dominant positions on the mat. He lands devastating ground strikes and very rarely gets reversed.
If “The True Viking” takes Pimblett’s back, the Liverpudlian will be lucky to lose the round instead of get submitted.
Much like Pimblett, Bak’s core strength is his grappling rather than his striking. However, in his last bout against Norwegian power puncher, Alexander Jacobsen, the Dane held a pretty good account of himself on the feet.
Bak landed some clean boxing combinations and is clearly working to round out that part of his game. Once the fight hit the mat, which seems like an inevitability in all of Bak’s fights, the contest was not competitive at all.
I actually bet on Jacobsen, so that fight really sucked for me.
I think the striking exchanges in this fight will be competitive.
However, given the physicality and wrestling advantage for Soren Bak, I believe he will be the one that lands in top position when the two tie up.
If Pimblett charges in recklessly on the feet like Bak’s previous opponent, Scott Clist, this will leave openings for Bak to shoot his patented double leg. Pimblett will try and throw up submission attempts from bottom position, but I think Bak is too savvy to get caught.
Pimblett is an entertaining fighter and an opportunist submission threat, but Bak is the more complete MMA grappler. I believe this will be the difference maker in this fight and my money is with “The True Viking”.
Pick: Soren Bak -105
Check out my UFC 228 betting predictions.
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