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Rousimar Palhares on submission: ‘He tapped, I let go’

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

BARUERI, Brazil -- Rousimar Palhares doesn’t think he’s guilty of anything after his 31-second win over Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil, on Wednesday.

Making his welterweight debut against Pierce, Palhares used his famous ankle lock to finish the fight, but he held the submission even after Pierce had tapped several times (watch the finish here).

Dana White told MMAFighting.com that Palhares will receive an additional punishment for his actions, but he doesn’t feel he deserves it.

"I just waited for him to tap," Palhares told the media after the fight. "I locked the position and looked to the referee to see if he saw he had tapped. He tapped, I let go."

Very emotional before and after the fight, Palhares refused to give more comments on the stoppage and revealed some people around him tried to convince him to retire before his decision to move down to 170.

"I was excited for my restart," he said. "I was out for a long time, lots of people tried to make me stop fighting. I felt that I was ready to return and that’s why I cried (at the weigh-ins)."

A loss to Pierce would have been Palhares’ third in a row, and he would have left the UFC whenever he felt he doesn’t belong in there.

"If I came here and showed that I don’t have what it takes to fight in the UFC I’d leave (the UFC)," he said. "I don’t want to take someone’s place in the UFC."

Palhares’ win over Pierce was his first one against a well-ranked opponent in the UFC, and he feels his best is yet to come now that he’s part of Team Nogueira.

"I was very relaxed because all the hard work was done and I was ready," he said. "It was the best thing I’ve done in my life. They made me believe I can beat anyone. I lost my last fights, and I’ve been through a lot. I wanted to be loyal to (Brazilian Top Team), but I saw I couldn’t grow more there."