Embattled former UFC welterweight Rousimar Palhares has seen an absolute windfall of negative publicity following his heel hook win over Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29. His tweaking of the finishing hold earned him his subsequent release and lifetime ban from the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
Many thought that he would end up in Bellator, but Bjorn Rebney was quick to confirm that Palhares was one UFC castoff he wasn’t willing to sign. The news left “Toquinho’s” career status up in jeopardy, but now it’s been cleared up somewhat.
The World Jiu-jitsus Expo is set to take place over the weekend of November 9-10, and event promoter Renzo Gracie confirmed that Palhares has been signed to take on former ADCC champion and UFC vet Dean “The Boogeyman” Lister. He showed his support for the outcast grappler to MMA Fighting, and offered his prognosis for the submission-only fight:
"I already wanted to get ‘Toquinho’ in the event, but wanted even more after everybody started criticizing him and I wouldn’t let that happen," Gracie told MMAFighting.com. "He’s a great guy, an incredible grappler, and I respect him a lot. He represents jiu-jitsu all the time. Dean has done some epic fights at ADCC and took this fight on short notice, but he was already in shape after his fights this weekend. He’s a great talent and accepted the challenge as soon as we offered it. They are both great leg lock guys and this fight will be amazing."
So it appears that “Toquinho” has quickly found new work mere weeks after becoming the enemy of every good-hearted MMA supported out there. Naturally there’s going to be some top-flight grapplers who want to show they aren’t afraid of Palhares’ leglock and prove they can beat him. Lister is an experienced vet with an extensive arsenal of submissions.
But “Toquinho” may be on another level when it comes to pure Jiu-jitsu. His strategy to wrap his opponents like a vine and crank on their knees and ankles has earned him many a win, but it also cost him his job and any respect he had left.
Thankfully for him, Gracie is in full support of the stocky ground wizard. Are you interested to see how this match with Lister plays out? Has “Toquinho” actually generated a lot more buzz for himself by getting kicked out of the UFC, or will he quickly fade into irrelevancy?