World Series of Fighting gave Rousimar Palhares a second chance, and he says he won’t blow it.
After the world of mixed martial arts crucified the grappling wizard for holding the submission too long against Mike Pierce at UFC Fight Night 29 in Barueri, Brazil, "Toquinho" is working hard to avoid more issues in his next bouts.
"We’re working hard to make sure that it never happens again," Palhares told MMAFighting.com. "I wasn’t focused and I didn’t realize that I was doing it. Now that I can see it, I hope I can work hard on that. We’re training the right way, fixing the issues. It’s perfect now.
"I never wanted to cause any harm to anyone, and I always believed I’d be able to find a new promotion to fight. I’m really happy that everything is back to normal in my life."
Palhares is expected to make his WSOF debut in March, but no opponent has been lined up yet. Jon Fitch, another welterweight under contract with the promotion, has said in the past that he wouldn’t fight the Brazilian after what he did to Pierce. However, "Toquinho" is confident that WSOF won’t have any problems finding an opponent for his debut.
"I’ll fight anyone," he said. "I’m here, I’m ready. I’ve signed the contract and I’m happy to get back to the cage. I want to be back in the best shape of my life. I’ve found my weight class, and now I’ll be able to show everything I can do.
"The only thing that bothered me is the fact that (Fitch) said he doesn’t like me, but I never did anything to him. He said things without knowing me. I hope I can show him who I really am so he’ll change his opinion about me. I have nothing against him."
Palhares’ manager, Alex Davis is happy to have his fighter back to the game.
"I’m really happy for the opportunity that Ray Sefo and Ali Abdel-Aziz gave him," Davis said. "I’m sure he’ll do big fights at the WSOF. I still believe he didn’t deserve to get cut by the UFC. He would have become the welterweight champion there, and I’m sure he’ll become the WSOF champion."