LONDON – Liverpool’s Paddy Pimblett electrified the crowd at UFC London with a second-round submission win over Jordan Leavitt before making an emotional plea for men to open up about their feelings after his friend’s death by suicide .
The flamboyant lightweight sunk in a rear naked choke to beat Leavitt before taking the mic and revealing he received a call telling him of his friend’s death on Friday morning, five hours before his weigh-in.
“There’s a stigma in this world that men can’t talk – listen, if you’re a man and you have weight on your shoulders… please talk to someone, talk to anyone who,” an emotional Pimblett told the crowd.
“Please get rid of this stigma, and men – start talking,” he added.
The 27-year-old, who has won three straight since joining the UFC, left the cage to the beat of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, a song synonymous with his favorite football club, Liverpool, with the crowd singing. .
Leavitt gave Pimblett some serious problems in the first round, but in the second the Liverpudlian’s strikes started to kick in and a knee to the head dropped the American, allowing Pimblett to get his back and secure the arrival.
It was the second explosive one-night finish that had its origins on Merseyside as earlier on Liverpool’s main flyweight card, Molly ‘Meatball’ McCann landed a signature spinning elbow to take down Hannah Goldy en route to a TKO victory.
Despite the emotion of those two wins, the night ended on a low note as Britain’s Tom Aspinall suffered a serious knee injury seconds after his heavyweight clash with Curtis Blaydes.
Aspinall landed a heavy kick before falling back to the center of the octagon clutching his right knee, the American taking the win by TKO as his opponent couldn’t continue.