Joe Giannetti on the Ultimate Fighter

Paddy Pimblett’s return to Cage Warriors hit a snag when his opponent Donovan Desmae was forced out of their fight due to injury, but the promotion found a replacement in a name that fans of The Ultimate Fighter series will recognize.

TUF 27 competitor Joe Giannetti will step in on 10 days’ notice to face Pimblett in a lightweight bout on the main card of Cage Warriors 111.

“This is a fight that international fight fans have wanted for a while,” Giannetti said in a press release by the promotion. “I’ve got a goal to get back into the UFC, Paddy’s got a goal to get to the UFC, so we’re going to find out who’s the others’ stepping stone.

“I hope he’s not expecting an easy night because I got the call last minute – we bring a different type of energy in Boston!”

Giannetti finished second in the TUF 27 lightweight tournament, losing via split decision at the finale to Mike Trizano, the first loss of his professional career.

Giannetti then returned to the regional circuit. After fighting to a draw against Josh Harvey in his first fight back with Cage Titans, Giannetti has put up a 2-1 record with both of his wins coming via stoppage and his lone loss being a unanimous decision.

For Pimblett, this will be his first bout since his unanimous decision loss to Soren Bak for the vacant Cage Warriors lightweight title in September of 2018. Pimblett is 14-3-0 overall but is 1-2 in his last three bouts, his two losses coming via unanimous decision.

This marks the second time that a fight between Pimblett and Desmae has failed to come to fruition after previously being booked.

Pimblett expressed his thanks for still being able to compete on the card in the press release.

“Considering everyone says they want to fight me, when the opportunity came up, they all went missing,” Pimblett said. “I’m grateful to Joe for stepping up, but it’s a bad decision for him. I don’t think he’s been finished before, so this will be the first time he’s been finished in his career.”

Cage Warriors 111 takes place on Friday, Nov. 22 at the London Indigo at the O2.

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