Rousimar Palhares’ path to the top of the World Series of Fighting’s welterweight division was a quick one, but it was not without controversy.
“Toquino’s” reputation as one of the top leg-lock specialists in the sport is tarnished by being labeled as a “dirty fighter”. Palhares has been accused of holding on to submission holds long after the fight has been waved off and it became such an issue that it cost him his job with the UFC.
Palhares tries to profess his innocence, but many in the MMA community aren’t buying it. On August 1, 2015, Jake Shields will have his opportunity to punish Palhares for his wrong doings by taking his welterweight championship.
“I think [Palhares is] fake,” Shields told BJPENN.COM Radio. “It’s one thing if he was just a jerk and acted like he wanted to hurt people, but you watch the Abu Dhabi tapes and you see him hurting people and trying to hug guys afterwards— acting like everything’s okay. It’s something he does a lot.”
Grappler David Avellan fell victim to one of Palhares’ signature leg locks in an ADCC match in 2011. Palhares had trapped him in a knee-bar and torqued the hold full-force before Avellan had the opportunity to submit. While it was well within the ruleset, many within the BJJ community found it unethical. Palhares quickly tried to make up with his opponent, but Avellan was having none of it.
This is the type of scenario Shields will be trying to avoid.
“He tries hiding behind this ‘Jesus— I’m a Nice Guy’ bull s***,” Shields said of Palhares’ character. “Nobody really likes hypocrites so I really want to go out there and fight this guy.”
Although he dislikes Palhares, Shields is still appreciative of the opportunity the officials at WSOF are giving him on his forty-first professional fight. “There’s a lot of guys who have been at it for a while and start falling off. I still feel like I’m capable of beating anyone in the world. So, to be fighting for another title against such a great fighter is really cool.”
Shields will be looking to add another title to his trophy case at WSOF 22. The former Strikeforce Champion has two first round victories under his belt in WSOF, and he doesn’t plan on letting his fight with “Toquino” go into championship rounds.
“I’m going to go a couple rounds with [Palhares], but there’s no way I’m letting it go past three rounds.”
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