It is a match up which is being billed by Cage Warriors as the biggest fight in European MMA and it’s easy to understand why.
In a little over three weeks time, local hero Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (14-2-0) will make the familiar walk to the cage at Liverpool’s Echo Arena to meet Søren “The True Viking” Bak (11-1-0) with the winner being crowned the Cage Warriors lightweight champion.
Undefeated in three fights since making his Cage Warriors debut, Bak has certainly been in impressive form. Following his second round submission win over Alexander Jacobson at Cage Warriors 93, the 26-year-old Dane wasted no time in setting his sights on a match up with former CW featherweight king Pimblett, promising that he would see him in Liverpool.
Just a couple of months later, it appeared Bak’s wish had been granted as Cage Warriors announced the two lightweights would face each other in Pimblett’s hometown of Liverpool with the vacant 155lb title up for grabs.
I recently caught up with Bak to discuss his thoughts ahead of what is set to be the biggest fight of his career to date.
Tom Mulligan – With three wins in three fights, you’ve been in great form since signing with Cage Warriors. How does it feel to be rewarded with a chance to capture the Cage Warriors lightweight championship?
Søren Bak – It feels amazing, but it’s been hard work. Everyone of my opponents have been candidates to contend the title if they won against me, so it make sense that I would get the chance now.
TM – Was it always the plan to get a title shot so soon into your time with Cage Warriors?
SB – Yes, I need to make a statement to lightweights all over Europe, so I’ve been ready to contend for the title since I got back to a winning streak in Cage Warriors.
TM – Standing in your way will be former featherweight champ Paddy Pimblett who will be making his second appearance at lightweight. How do you feel you match up against Paddy?
SB – Paddy is a great match up for me. He has a massive following and a strong skill set. Paddy’s got a great base in Jiu-Jitsu, but I feel that’s his loose jits style is going to be exposed against my more tight wrestling base.
“I’d like to see Paddy trying to set up his fancy bottom submissions while getting my elbows in his face.”
TM – The two of you have had a few entertaining exchanges on social media already. Are you making a conscious decision to look to get under his skin during the build up?
SB – It clearly got under Paddy’s skin, I didn’t really expect that. We’ve both been calling for this fight for a while, but Cage Warriors hadn’t put anything in writing yet. So it was more of an effort to get some fan attention on the fight, to make sure that I got the fight against Paddy.
TM – The fight is going to be in Paddy’s hometown of Liverpool in front of a notoriously enthusiastic home crowd. Does fighting in that environment effect you at all?
SB – I’ve been fighting against people with hometown advantage in all of my fights outside Denmark and to be perfectly honest I’ve been the underdog in many of my Danish fights as well. I don’t think it’ll affect anything specific on the fight, but i’ll surely be fun to hear the local crowd.
TM – It feels like a particularly interesting match up considering you previously fought at Welterweight and Paddy once competed at Bantamweight. Are you expecting size/strength to be a factor on the night?
SB – That’s a very good point, Paddy is a skinny guy but strictly height wise we’re evenly matched. I believe he’ll be shocked when I get my hands on him, because of the weight and strength advantage [I’ll have].
TM – How are you expecting the fight to play out? Any predictions?
SB – When I picture the fight in my head we’ll both come out swinging. If he manages not to get caught by my hands and knees in the stand up I’ll either take him down or clinch him against the cage, then It’ll be a matter of one or two rounds before I catch him in a submission or the referee [has to] step in to save him from the ground and pound.
TM – Do you have any final words for Paddy?
SB – “I’ll do the rest of my talking in the cage and let the beardless keyboard warrior do his social media madness.”
Cage Warriors 96 is set to take place on Saturday 1st September at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. In addition to Pimblett and Bak battling it out for the CW lightweight title, Liverpool’s Lee Chadwick (24-13-1) will be putting his CW middleweight title on the line against former Bellator and ACB standout, Jonas Billstein (19-5-1).