Paddy & Molly: The Night That Was Meant To Be
As fight week ticked by, you sensed there was something in the air. They went to Vegas for different aims, but equally the same aim, victory comes in many forms. Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann led you to believe that they knew something we didn’t. They were right.
For McCann, riding a two-fight losing streak and fighting out her existing UFC contract, it was about survival and keeping the dream alive. Make no mistake, McCann was under the most severe pressure imaginable. She said ‘it was go big or go home.’ She went big. McCann finds her very best in times like this.
For Pimblett, it was the long-awaited heavily hyped UFC debut. The biggest Mixed Martial Arts promotion had long courted Pimblett, finally, the moment had arrived.
Pimblett the once shy youngster, where the hell did that guy go, had promised to make a statement. Consider that mission accomplished.
McCann went back to the old ‘Meatball’ it was exactly what she needed. It was the kind of night that no matter what Ji Yeon Kim brought to the Octagon it would not be enough. In this mood, fighting for her UFC life, McCann was never going to be denied.
Pimblett promised plenty and delivered more. It was the perfect debut. Trust me, Luigi Vendramini cracked him hard with that left hook early in the much-anticipated debut. Pimblett barely blinked and marched forward with the conviction that nothing his opponent had would be enough. Pimblett seemed oblivious to the danger he was obviously in during those frantic opening few minutes.
The finish was box office, the look that it could be the start of something big, he declared himself the new cash cow. He might be right.
Pimblett and McCann prepared by side by side, they celebrated the same way. It was scripted to be like this. The two are inseparable, they both deservedly took home an extra 50k, even the UFC bonus scheme can’t separate them.
The card should have been in the UK until the late switch to Vegas, and after the Liverpool heavy Vegas card, Dana White needs to bring his show back to the fighting city of Liverpool. White might very well have a new star on his hands, a hometown show for the new kid on the block looks inevitable.
Pimblett and McCann both got their new beginnings. Pimblett has that rare gift, and he knows it and many more will now agree with him. McCann survived, and is a fighter you just can’t help getting emotionally invested in. The UFC is a better place with McCann in it.
There was a lot at stake on Saturday night, both Pimblett and McCann had it all to do for different reasons. Both have gone through adversity in recent times, resilience has been a valuable asset for both. Vegas showed us a little bit of the old and a lot more of the new. What they gave us at the Apex, deserves a bigger stage. What they gave us at the Apex, almost guarantees they will get that bigger stage. Saturday fight nights at the ‘Echo’ were always something special. There might be a different name above the door now, but there is every chance the UFC will be back in town very soon.
Photo Credit: Zuffa/UFC/Getty Images