Palhares vs. Carl is set to headline World Series of Fighting 9 card in Paradise, Nevada, on March 29, and WSOF executive vice president Ali Abdel-Aziz informed MMAFighting.com that Fitch will fight the winner of the title fight later in 2014.
"The winner will be fighting Jon Fitch," Abdel-Aziz told MMAFighting.com on Friday. "He has the next title shot."
Right after the UFC released Palhares for holding the submission against Mike Pierce, Fitch stated he wouldn’t accept to fight him because "he's got that long of a history of holding onto them too long." It looks like he has changed his mind, though.
"Jon Fitch is a professional, Jon Fitch will fight anybody," Abdel-Aziz said. "I respect him a lot. It’s up to him, but I talked to his manager and he’s all for it, he’ll fight the winner."
Coming off an controversial but impressive win over Pierce, "Toquinho" earned an immediate title shot at WSOF, and Abdel-Aziz says it was a no-brainer.
"If you look at the rankings, ‘Toquinho’ is ranked higher than everybody we have at WSOF," he said. "He’s ranked at 15, and Steve Carl is 16, so we put the two best guys to fight each other. He always gives you goose bumps, you never know what to expect from the guy. He’s exciting. People always talk about him, whatever he does, people always pay attention.
"I think he’s a ferocious fighter. He’s one of the best finishes in MMA. If ‘Toquinho’ comes focused, he’s gonna give everybody problem, but he’s fighting also a very tough guy now. ‘Toquinho’ is the guy everybody wants to see fight, win lose or draw, because he puts on an exciting show and he always go for the finish."
Because of his recent history of controversies, Abdel-Aziz believes Palhares vs. Carl might be the biggest fight in WSOF history.
"It might be, man," he said. "We also have Marlon Moraes in the card too, and he always puts on great fights. But what happened on Rousimar Palhares’ history, people like drama. Carl is also a great fighter, so people want to see what’s next for ‘Toquinho’."