Pimblett dazed the American with a knee while defending a takedown and then took the back, where he secured a rear-naked choke at the 2:46 mark of the second round.
The cups went flying and Pimblett went jumping into sponsor Dave Portnoy’s arms as his teammate Molly McCann did earlier in the card. McCann then carted him around the octagon.
Despite the wild celebration, Pimblett again expressed disappointment in his performance, telling Michael Bisping, “I’m better than that.” He then paid tribute to a friend who’d committed suicide and implored the audience to monitor their mental health.
It was a rough first round for the Liverpool native. Leavitt had no intention of giving him the easy knockout and quickly drove for a leg. Pimblett grabbed his opponent’s neck but was out of position and couldn’t adjust to secure a guillotine. Lateral elbows deterred a subsequent drive from Leavitt, but the American minimized most of the damage he faced opposite Pimblett’s striking – until the end of the round. When Leavitt charged across the ring with short time, Pimblett slapped on a guillotine and used it to take the back and mount, pounding away with punches for a round-stealing argument.
Pimblett tried to punch his way in midway through the fight, and Leavitt instead ducked under. The Brit tried an arm triangle as he tried to stay upright, but it wasn’t until he fired his knee that the fight turned in an instant. With a body triangle, Pimblett trapped Leavitt’s right arm, leaving him unable to defend the choke properly.
It was just a matter of time until Pimblett found the rear-naked submission. With a squeeze, he picked up his third straight UFC win and set the crowd ablaze with the tea-bag he’d promised for Leavitt, who’d beforehand promised to twerk in victory. Leavitt suffers the second octagon loss of his career and drops to 3-2 after back-to-back wins in his two most recent appearances.