Lance Palmer secured a second-round rear naked choke victory and five points over Bekbulat Magomedov last Thursday at PFL 2018 #1.
Palmer isn’t the only former World Series of Fighting featherweight champion who fought and won on the card. In fact, there were two others: Andre Harrison and Alexandre de Almeida. Both are former foes of Palmer. And if Palmer gets his wish, he’ll get to fight both again in PFL’s $1 million tournament.
Then-WSOF featherweight champ Palmer fought Harrison at WSOF 35 in March 2017. Harrison won a unanimous decision over the course of the 25-minute fight to become the champion. Palmer, who broke his hand in the first round of that fight, has wanted the rematch ever since.
“When it comes down to it, I feel that there were a lot of good things that I wasn’t able to do whether it’s striking-wise or grappling-wise because of the injury to my hand early in the [Harrison] fight,” Palmer told the media after PFL 1. “He’s a great opponent. He’s somebody that I’m looking forward to getting another fight with but not looking past anybody else.
“I think both of us are going to make each other better by having each other in this season,” Palmer continued. “I’m excited for it and I have a feeling we’re not going to fight early on. I’m going to enjoy his fights, hopefully he enjoys my fights and we come together in the end.”
De Almeida, however, told MMASucka that he wants a rubber match with Palmer in the PFL championship. The pair are 1-1, as the two fought twice under the WSOF banner–both times for the featherweight title. De Almeida, then a title challenger, defeated Palmer via unanimous decision at WSOF 26. Palmer got his revenge in their following bout at WSOF 32 to reclaim his title, winning via unanimous decision.
Palmer feels like he won both of the fights, but said he’s interested in settling the rivalry with a third match in the PFL tournament.
“The first fight was a decision that didn’t go my way but I felt like I was more dominant in that fight than the second fight where I did get the win,” Palmer said. “We had great fights. I think our styles match-up to where it’s a fun fight, but this postseason it’s all going to depend on where we get seeded and where we end up. Obviously I respect the guy a lot. We’ve spent 50 minutes in the cage together over the two fights.”
In the present though, Palmer is happy with his victory over Magomedov, a former WSOF bantamweight champion.
“I’m happy to get the second-round finish against a really tough guy,” Palmer said. “Somebody who came up from 135 to step up into this 145 lb. weight class which is a shark tank. Much respect to Bekbulat and I wish him the best in the next fight. It was a great test for me. Somebody who was 19-2, makes a lot of his fights look pretty easy, honestly.”
Palmer finds himself in third place in the featherweight standings after the first of two regular season events he’ll fight in. He’s behind de Almeida and Steven Siler, who both earned first-round finishes. Palmer admitted that he entered the building on Thursday night hoping to match them with a first round finish of his own, but that went out the window during and after his bout.
“When you walk in the building and hear everybody’s getting first round finishes, you’re like, ‘Alright, here we go, we’ve got to rush it,’” he said. “But there’s no reason to rush it. All those guys are getting first round finishes, that’s great, but they’ve got to fight me eventually.
“It’s not all about the points. You’ve got to go out and get the win. To be the best in this postseason coming up, you have to get the wins in this regular season. Whether it’s a finish or just a win, it’s the same thing: you’ve got to win all the fights. It’s not you’ve got to finish all the fights to win the million dollars, you have to win all the fights.”