Rousimar Palhares has been here before – struggling through back-to-back knockout losses and wondering what the future might hold. Last time, he responded in fine fashion. This time, he expects similar results.
Palhares (18-8) meets Russian Alexei Ivanov (11-3) in the featured bout of Friday’s Fight Nights Global event, which takes place at FSK in Ulan-Ude, Russia. The event is expected to featured on UFC Fight Pass via video on demand shortly after the conclusion of the contest.
It’s a precarious position for the 37-year-old Palhares. He remains one of the most feared submission artists in the game, but after suffering losses to Emil Meek in Italy and Michal Materla in Poland, Palhares’ future as a top welterweight hangs in the balance. Add to the challenge of fighting a Russian opponent in his backyard, and the difficulty level increases.
“I will submit Alexei Ivanov, like I do most of the time,” Rousimar said in his native Portuguese. “I am sure he is good, but he has never faced someone like me.”
“Russians are known for being tough and always coming to fight,” Rousimar said. “I like fighting guys like that. It’s good to be challenged. I know he is a tough guy, as all Russians. I respect him. Being a two-time sambo champ means that he is good, but I am coming very well prepared.”
The last time Palhares dropped consecutive outings – 2012 bouts with Hector Lombard and Alan Belcher – he bounced back with four consecutive submission wins over Mike Pierce, Steve Carl, Jon Fitch and Jake Shields. Facing a fighter confident in his leglock abilities could either prove a blessing or a curse for Palhares. After all, the Brazilian’s submission abilities are what makes him special – but his backup plans are often minimal.
“FNG 70: Palhares vs. Ivanov” could provide a glimpse into the future of the feared grappler. Palhares believes it will be bright.
“I will try to submit everyone to become champ,” Palhares said. “This I will do.”
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