Rousimar Palhares Makes Most of Fresh Start in WSOF by Capturing Welterweight Title

By Rick LaFitte
Rousimar Palhares after UFC win over Mike Pierce
Jason Silva USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian submission specialist Rousimar Palhares made the most of his fresh start with the World Series of Fighting promotion by capturing the welterweight title in his debut. “Toquinho” finished defending champion Steve Carl in rapid fashion at WSOF 9 in Las Vegas. Palhares ended the contest in just 69 seconds with an inverted heel hook submission and proved once again why he’s considered one of the most dangerous submission fighters in the entire sport.

It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for Palhares, who was permanently banned by UFC President Dana White after Fight Night 29 in Brazil. An impressive 31-second submission victory of the tough Mike Pierce was tarnished by Palhares hanging onto the hold too long after his opponent had tapped. Pierce was left with a torn ankle ligament and a sprained MCL as a result.

It was the second time in his Octagon career that an incident of this type had occurred and instead of a Submission of the Night bonus, he was immediately released by the organization. Palhares was thankful to be given another chance in WSOF and certainly made a strong first impression in securing his 13th submission win in 16 career victories.

While there were some who thought Palhares may have held onto the hold on Carl a little longer than he needed to, WSOF President Ray Sefo was fine with the finish and had no issues with it. Palhares will always be under extra scrutiny because of his checkered past and Sefo is taking a zero-tolerance approach. Palhares passed his initial test.

Carl saw his seven-fight win streak snapped and paid the price for rushing Palhares at the start of the fight. He was quickly taken to the canvas by his powerful opponent and it seemed just a matter of time before the end would come. Carl was gracious in defeat commending Palhares for his slick ground game.

After capturing the 170-pound belt, Palhares will make his first title defense against another former UFC veteran in Jon Fitch in July at WSOF 11.

Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.

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