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Rousimar Palhares sends message to Jon Fitch: It won’t be easy to take my title

Leonardo Fabri

"I personally wouldn't accept a fight with (Palhares) because of those (heel hooks)."

Six months after expressing his desire to never enter a cage against heel-hook-specialist Rousimar Palhares, Jon Fitch is set to challenge him for the World Series of Fighting welterweight championship on July 5, and the current champion isn’t bothered by his previous statements.

"I know that I will be ready on fight night. I can’t speak for anyone else," Palhares stated in a release. "He can say whatever he wants, he can say whatever he thinks and feels. I know that I’m here and that I’m working to keep the title with me for a long time."

Fitch has only been submitted twice in 33 professional fights, but Palhares guarantees it won’t be easy to take the title away from him.

"If he wants to take this away from me, something I guarantee it won’t be easy to do, he will have to fight," he said. "This belt won’t leave here anytime soon. I’m well and I’m focused, ready to stay champion."

Palhares became the WSOF 170-pound champion with a 69-second submission victory over Steve Carl on March 29, and he was aware of Carl’s grappling credentials.

"I was surprised with my opponent. He was very kind to me, congratulated me (after the fight)," Palhares said. "That’s the type of guy that I have pleasure to fight with. But I couldn’t miss any opportunity. I’ve trained this position a lot and went for the finish. Against a guy like him, who has a lot of submissions in his career, you can’t waste opportunities. Everybody knew how good his jiu-jitsu is."

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