Rousimar Palhares has had something of a difficult time holding on to matchups since he signed for Taura MMA back in July. After taking eighteen months of inactivity, Palhares seemed eager to get back in the cage and right the ship after some bad results on the independent circuit and was quickly booked against Sean Loeffler (34-5) at the promotion’s eleventh event. Then, of course, the Coronavirus pandemic caused huge a number of problems for the combat sports scene and Taura MMA was forced to delay a number of their events. They managed to rebook the fight for their now rearranged tenth event on October 23rd, 2020 and all was well.
Now however, MMAFighting has announced that Loeffler has been forced to withdraw from the fight and Taura MMA were forced to scramble to find a late-notice replacement for the fight against Rousimar Palhares. They managed to get Anthony Gordillo (13-3) to step up and take on the vicious leglocker instead. This latest fight comes after Palhares has put together a 1-4-1 run on several independent promotions around Europe, something he was only forced to do after the fourth time in his career that he had held onto a submission after his opponent tapped.
Palhares started out as a gifted grappler and one of the earlier proponents of the leglock game, but he quickly became known as someone who would disrespect the tap instead. The first instance of him doing so in professional MMA came in 2010 against Tomasz Drwal at UFC 111, where he was then suspended from competition for 90 days as a result. He then spoiled his second chance in the biggest promotion in the world at UFC Fight Night 29 when he did the exact same thing to Mike Pierce, resulting in him being denied his submission of the night bonus and subsequently being released from the UFC.
When Palhares made the move to World Series of Fighting, it looked like he had learnt his lesson as he won their Welterweight championship in his first fight. That is, until his first title-defense against Jon Fitch at WSOF 16. Although this was nowhere near the most egregious example, Palhares’ existing reputation meant that absolutely nobody was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. WSOF seemed willing to forgive it in the hopes that it was just a minor error and not a return to full form, but Palhares very next fight against Jake Shields at WSOF 22 proved otherwise.
This was the last straw for Palhares as he was suspended indefinitely and WSOF president Ali Abdelaziz claimed that Palhares “has mental problems and shouldn’t be allowed to fight until he fixes them.” Since then, no major promotion has been willing to touch the Brazilian and with his recent record and turning 40, it seems next to impossible that anybody big takes a chance on him again.