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Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett’s coronation to the big leagues of mixed martial arts has been put on hold.

The massively popular 22-year-old fighter lost a unanimous decision to Bristol’s Nad Narimani in the main event of Cage Warriors 82 from the Echo Arena, losing his  featherweight title in the process and in the end it was a chorus of boos and the sound of plastic beer cups rattling against the cage which echoed through the cavernous arena when the Andy Friedlander read the official judges’ decision.

Pimblett can’t have any qualms about the result. The Next Gen fighter, now 13-2, was stifled throughout by Narimani and couldn’t roll out his aggressive grappling after being positionally dominated by Narimani who seemed to be the physically stronger fighter. Narimani landed the better strikes and, while none of them looked close to finishing the fight at any point, the sheer accumulation of them was evident as soon as the official decision was announced.

Pimblett’s next move will be an interesting one. He is now a free agent after fighting out his Cage Warriors contract last night and it was likely that the UFC might have come calling with an impressive showing in Liverpoool last night. Unfortunately for Pimblett, he fell short when the stakes were at their highest.

Re-signing to Cage Warriors for another few bouts seems to make sense, particularly given Cage Warriors president Graham Boylan’s connection to Intensiti — the management team who represent Pimblett.

As for Narimani, he now holds the Cage Warriors featherweight belt which was once the property of Conor McGregor.

“The guy’s tough, you’ve got to take your hat off to him,” Narimani said of his opponent after the fight. “He’s 22 years old! When I was his age I wasn’t doing this shit and he’s in here and he’s the world champion.

“But I came in here and I took it off him”, Narimani said to Friedlander who then was forced to vocally admonish the crowd for pelting the new champion with plastic beer cups.

“I’ll take anyone. I’ll fight anyone. I don’t look at people and say ‘No, I don’t want to fight him.’ I’m not here to get famous or anything like that. I’m here to fight the best people and prove that I’m the best. And I think I proved that tonight but it doesn’t look like these fans are liking it.”