UFC welterweight contender Mike Pierce (17-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) will likely find himself in hostile territory at next week’s “UFC Fight Night 29” in Sao Paulo, when he takes on Brazilian native Rousimar Palhares (14-5 MMA, 7-4 UFC) on the evenings main card.
It was really a head-scratching booking, as Mike Pierce is currently riding a 4-fight win-streak, while Palhares is coming off two straight losses and a suspension for having tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
Pierce has not been shy about venting his frustration over the promotion’s decision to match him up against “Toquinho”, as he told ESPN in a recent interview:
“Of course, I’m pissed off. I want to start getting those main card fights against notable guys. Palhares has fought some tough guys. He’s got a little bit of credence to his name but I want to start working my up. This guy is coming off two losses and I’m on a four-fight win streak. Typically, they don’t match up guys like that. I haven’t had too much interaction with Joe Silva. I’ve had brief words with him. He’s not a huge fan of most people who smash guys up against the fence and grind on them, hit them on the side, that sort of stuff — which, I get. That’s not exciting. He’s like, ‘I don’t care if it’s a submission, a TKO or a knockout. Look for finishes.’ I get that, but it’s hard to do that sometimes when a guy is fresh or you have two skilled fighters. It’s hard to catch them sleeping. And I have had two good finishes in my last three fights… There was that one clear, obvious [cheat] where (Palhares) held it when the referee told him to let go and he got fined by a commission (UFC 111). Then recently, he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels (UFC on FX 6), so this guy is definitely a cheat. There’s no surprise. He’ll do anything to win because he’s either desperate or an asshole. I’m not too concerned about that. I come in expecting he’s going to be mean, try to be a bully, try to cheat — I have to deal with it.”
“Toquinho” is known for his frightening submission game, which includes what could be the nastiest heel hook in all of MMA. However, that doesn’t seem to bother Pierce who is hoping that a win over Palhares will finally boost him into the title hunt at 170-pounds.