Steve Carl's first World Series of Fighting welterweight title defense will come against controversial leg-lock specialist Rousimar Palhares, whose previous fight at 170 lbs saw him cut from the UFC. World Series of Fighting announced the main event bout for March 29th via their official Twitter account:
.@Steve_Carl will defend his #WSOF welterweight title against Rousimar @ToquinhoMMA Palhares in the #WSOF9 main event on March 29th— WSOF (@MMAWorldSeries) January 27, 2014
Palhares (15-5) was released following his heel-hook stoppage against Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri. The controversy came when he didn't immediately let go of Pierce's leg even after he tapped, making this a second offense for "Toquinho" in addition to his positive drug test after losing to Hector Lombard in December 2012. The UFC gave him his walking papers, and while WSOF initially didn't express much desire to sign the Brazilian, they picked him up anyway.
Carl (21-3) won the inaugural WSOF welterweight championship when he choked out Josh Burkman at WSOF 6. His last 8 wins have come by submission, and he's finished all three of his opponents since joining the organization back in 2012.
Essentially, the chronological relationship between WSOF and Palhares went from "no", to "maybe", to "signed", to "title fight" from October to today. Jon Fitch is on record as saying he wouldn't fight him, but if Palhares is the champ come March 29th, then that could make Fitch change his tune if he wants to hold a title belt.
WSOF also announced Marlon Moraes against Josh Rettinghouse for the bantamweight title, and that will serve as the co-main event for the card, which airs live on NBC Sports Network.
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