Even though the odds are stacked against him at Cage Warriors 82, Nad Narimani is confident that he will ‘break’ Paddy Pimblett in front of his hometown fans at the Echo Arena.
Narimani (9-2), looks to complete a Cinderella-like story on April 1 in Liverpool, when he gets his second chance at the CW featherweight title after falling short against Alex Enlund in November 2014.
With Pimblett claiming that ‘8,000 scousers’ will pack the Echo on Saturday night, Narimani asserted that he won’t be fazed by the pro-Paddy atmosphere at CW82, as he aims to win over fans with his performance.
“I’ve fought in front of big crowds before and it’s not something that bothers me,” explained Narimani, talking to MMA Plus. “When I get in there I hear him and that’s it, him and the referee. For me it doesn’t matter who’s out there in the crowd because I’m in there to do a job and that cage doesn’t change no matter how many people behind it.
“I’m sure they’ll be booing but that will just spur me on more you know, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure that once I win the belt, we’ll see, they might be happy, they might not.”
Narimani’s experience too much for Pimblett
Representing Bristol on what is expected to be one of UK MMA’s most attended events, Narimani championed his wrestling credentials against the polished jiu-jitsu of Pimblett, having worked with some of the best grapplers during his seven-year stint as a pro fighter.
Narimani said: “In terms of grappling and wrestling I don’t think there are many people better than me in the country. Striking wise, I don’t think there are either. This is going to be Paddy’s toughest test, he knows that, he’s going to come in well prepared and I’m going to give him a fight. We’ll see what happens but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be coming away with the win.
“I think his grappling is decent, he’s very flexible, chucks things up there but I train with some of the best grapplers in the country. I started training with Ronnie Mann and Paul Reed, ranked one and three in the country and that was eight, nine years ago now. Nothing really worries me because I feel like I’ve seen everything.”
Narimani compares Pimblett with Alex Enlund
Narimani also detailed Pimblett’s last fight against Julian Erosa at CW Unplugged, with the Impact Gym fighter claiming that the Scouser broke down mentally, in what was undoubtedly Pimblett’s most difficult fight to date.
“I think he’s going to come in a lot more prepared this time because obviously he’s made that mistake, unless he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Cardio is in the mind as well, it’s not just preparation, it’s mindset, and I think what we’ve seen was a bit of a breakdown, he broke a bit in that fight. I think I’m going to break him.”
The former Cage Warriors featherweight title challenger confirmed he had a full 12-week preparation for this fight, having been hindered by numerous injuries in the past. Narimani has only fought twice in two years due to rib and neck problems, suffering from the latter during his bout against Enlund at Cage Warriors 73.
Despite losing that fight to Enlund, who would later go onto the UFC, the story seems to have come full circle for Nad, who aims to put a full stop on his MMA journey against Pimblett, by taking his opponent’s 145lb title in his backyard.
“From when I fought against Enlund, I’ve massively improved since then, that was almost three years ago. I don’t think Paddy is as technically tight as Enlund was on the ground, he’s a bit more wild, throws a bit more flashy stuff out there, which you’ve got be careful of, but other than that I don’t see where he’s going to trouble me,” claimed a confident Narimani.
“I’ve kept plugging away, I’ve only fought Cage Warriors once more since then, but apart from that, I’ve only fought twice in two years purely because of injuries really. I’ve just had injuries upon injuries, so hopefully, I can get this belt and the body stays intact to make a run for the UFC.”