Lance Palmer earned his second win of the Professional Fighters League featherweight season in as many contests. “The Party” defeated Tuerxun Jumabieke via third-round submission (neck-crank) at PFL 4 on Thursday.
The win solidified Palmer as the tournament’s second seed going into the postseason. He’ll compete against the seventh seed, but who that’ll be appears to be up in the air until Magomed Idrisov and Lee Coville compete to determine who advances to the playoffs. Palmer will fight Max Coga if Idrisov or Coville earn a first or second-round stoppage. Nazareno Malegarie appears to be another potential opponent for Palmer.
The contestants will compete in a one-night quarterfinals and semifinals bracket in October. Only two will advance to the December 31 PFL championship. The quarterfinals feature two-round bouts, while the semifinals are a full three rounds. Palmer said his mindset going into the postseason is to just win the first fight.
“You can’t get to the second fight without winning the first,” Palmer told the media. “To me, there’s only two rounds on that night. And once I win those two rounds, there’s going to be three more later. So, just focus on the first one, focus on that first opponent, and go out there and get it done.”
Palmer did just that, dominating Jumabieke before submitting him in the last minute of the fight. It was actually Jumabieke who initiated some wrestling exchanges on Palmer, known for that aspect of his game. And like Palmer did to his first PFL opponent, Bekbulat Magomedov, he punished Jumabieke for it.
“I don’t know why they do it, but it’s good for me,” Palmer said. “It’s fighting, though. People may have confidence in their ground game or their grappling. You have to go for it, you have to have that confidence going in. I applaud them for trying to wrestle me, but nobody’s going to beat me in the wrestling game or the grappling game.”
Palmer will have some intriguing match-ups waiting for him in the semifinals and/or championship bout assuming he gets past the quarterfinals. Andre Harrison, Steven Siler, Timur Valiev and Alexandre de Almeida round out the upper echelon of the featherweight postseason (on paper, at least).
Palmer owns a win over Siler (#1 seed), is looking for revenge against Harrison (#3), wants to secure the rubber match with de Almeida (TBD) and has yet to fight Valiev (#4).
The former Ohio State University standout eliminated Jumabieke from the competition and secured four more points to his own name, finishing with nine. Although Palmer was guaranteed a playoff spot after his five-point first performance, he intended to make a statement against Jumabieke and earn a finish.
“Going into this fight, I just wanted to get the finish. I was kind of putting more pressure on myself just to get the finish,” Palmer said. “And then once I opened up in the cage in that first round and kind of relaxed a little bit, I was able to let that go. If the finish accumulated, I was going to get it. If not, it wasn’t.
“But luckily, when I heard my coaches say, ‘Short time, one minute to go,’ I just went for the crank because that’s what I had there.”
The former World Series of Fighting featherweight champion will return to action in October.