Ilia Topuria claims UFC are protecting Paddy Pimblett from fight with him following dominant UFC 282 victory

Ilia Topuria

Undefeated UFC featherweight contender, Ilia Topuria has claimed the promotion are “protecting” lightweight favorite, Paddy Pimblett from a fight with him next, after scoring a dominant submission win over Bryce Mitchell at UFC 282.

Topuria, an alum of Cage Warriors, recorded his fifth consecutive Octagon victory over the course of weekend in a main card opener against grappling standout, Mitchell – finishing the Arkansas native with a second round arm-triangle choke win, moving to 13-0 as a professional. 

As for Pimblett, the Liverpool native also remained undefeated during is respective Octagon tenure to date as well, landing a debated and scrutinized unanimous decision win over Jared Gordon in the night’s co-main event. 

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However, earlier this year, and even during the course of the week’s pre-fight press conference, Pimblett and Topuria have shared a harsh and fierce war-of-words, with many calling for the duo to eventually share the Octagon with each other in the near future.

Ilia Topuria claims UFC are protecting Paddy Pimblett from clash with him next

Suggesting a fight with Pimblett next as well as calling for the promotion to make their debut in Spain – his country of residence, Topuria claims the UFC are protecting the Liverpudlian from a fight against him.

“The UFC is protecting him (Paddy Pimblett) from me, you know,” Ilia Topuria told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I don’t know why – in reality, that’s the fight to make right now. Because it’s one of the biggest fights I think in the UFC.”

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“We can perfectly sell a pay-per-view [together],” Ilia Topuria explained. “I think so. That fight makes more excitement for people, than most championship fights.” 

Topuria’s submission success against Mitchell followed a prior knockout win over Pimblett’s compatriot, Jai Herbert in July of this year at UFC London – making a brief lightweight division excursion. 

As for Pimblett, the outspoken former Cage Warriors featherweight champion claimed those who questioned the legitimacy of his judging win over Gordon over the course of the weekend were only “haters” of his.