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Paddy Pimblett to Fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 296 in Las Vegas


The Ultimate Fighting Championship is taking a very specific path of matchmaking to build a budding star.

Earlier on Friday, Stephen Thompson and Shavkat Rakhmonov publicly posted about their upcoming matchup on social media. The UFC subsequently confirmed this on Friday night, announcing that fight as part of UFC 296 along with an unannounced matchup. Joining the two title fights and aforementioned Thompson-Rakhmonov tilt will be a lightweight clash pitting Paddy Pimblett (20-3) against Tony Ferguson (25-9). The bouts will take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 16.

Liverpool, England’s Pimblett currently rides a six-fight win streak that includes all four of his appearances in the Octagon. His last bout came at UFC 282 in December, where he won a unanimous decision over Jared Gordon in a finalist for Sherdog’s 2022 “Robbery of the Year” award – as most observers believed Gordon had done enough to get the win. Before the controversial victory, Pimblett left little doubt by racking up five straight stoppages, with a knockout of Luigi Vendramini in the Octagon followed by rear-naked chokes of Rodrigo Vargas and Jordan Leavitt in 2022.

While Pimblett has won six fights in a row, Ferguson has suffered six consecutive losses. One more loss for “El Cucuy” would tie a dubious UFC record held by B.J. Penn, while he currently is tied for the second-worst UFC stretch with Elvis Sinosic, Hector Lombard, Joshua Burkman and Phil Baroni. The former interim champ, before this skid that started in 2020, had rattled off 12 straight wins with nine finishes over many of the best names in the division. Across that victorious period from 2013 to 2019, Ferguson picked up nine post-fight bonus checks.

UFC 296 will be held in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena as the UFC’s final fight card of 2023 on Dec. 16. The main attraction will see Leon Edwards put his welterweight strap on the line against former interim beltholder Colby Covington. The co-main event comes at 125 pounds, with Alexandre Pantoja looking for the first defense of his new throne in a rematch with Brandon Royval.
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