True to his nickname "Toquinho" has long been a short, squat, powerhouse of a fighter in the middleweight division. But what was once an unusual advantage for a fighter who's game almost entirely consisted of brutal use of leverage, has become something of a disadvantage as 185 continues to grow and add depth. Palhares is on an 0-2 run with both losses coming to decent competition in Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard. However, in that time, he's also had a debilitating foot injury, been suspended for PED use, and uprooted his training camp. While he has yet to fight in 2013 it's been a year of change for the former top middleweight.
Several months ago he began teasing a potential drop to welterweight. His camp reported that depending upon the results of a practice cut he would be likely to move down. The cut apparently went well, and now Lance!Net reports that he's made the news official with an announced fight against Mike Pierce. It's a fascinating match as Palhares has shown the ability to manhandle even big middleweights, but Pierce has shown otherworldly submission defense acumen.
After Pierce's loss to Josh Koscheck February of 2012 he took to calling out Brazilian grapplers as he "wanted and easy fight." I don't know if he's still repping that mantra, but it may make the buildup for this fight interesting if he is. This is almost guaranteed to be a fascinating fight as both men are dedicated enough to their crafts to not back off of them for the sake of an opponents abilities. I expect to see a lot of good guard play, ground and pound, and submission attempts.
UFC Fight Night 29 takes place on October 9th in Barueri, Brazil. Here's a look at the current card:
Demian Maia vs. Jake Shields
Erick Silva vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Rony Jason vs. Jeremy Stephens
Thiago Silva vs. Matt Hamill
Fábio Maldonado vs. Joey Beltran
Raphael Assunção vs. TJ Dillashaw
Hacran Dias vs. Rodrigo Damm
Iliarde Santos vs. Chris Cariaso
Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Pierce
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