World Series of Fighting slowly progressed with consecutive 15-minute bouts, but Luis Palomino ended the night in devastating fashion at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Palomino, who made his WSOF debut in January with a first-round KO victory over Jorge Patino, did it again in the main event of WSOF 12 in Las Vegas. Matched against undefeated Lewis Gonzalez, the Peruvian lightweight needed one round to earn his 15th finish.
The long-time Bellator veteran rocked Gonzalez early in the fight with a huge left hand, but found low kicks the best way to set up for a finish. He tried it once, but it was on the second attempt, that Palomino knocked Gonzalez off-balance with a low kick and landed a vicious high kick that dropped him unconscious.
With two devastating finishes under the WSOF banner, Palomino asked for a shot at the lightweight title against the winner of 155-pound champion Justin Gaethje vs. UFC veteran Melvin Guillard, expected to take place later this year.
In the co-main event, Ronny Markes returned to the light heavyweight division for his post-UFC fight, and it paid off. The Kimura Nova Uniao battled Cully Butterfield and spent most of the fight on Butterfield’s back, working for finishes via submission or TKO.
Markes, who went 3-2 under the UFC banner from 2011 to 2014, failed to get the stoppage victory, but bounced back to the win column after consecutive TKO losses as he defeated Butterfield via unanimous decision.
The main card action continued with undefeated Kelvin Tiller entering the WSOF cage for the first time against a more experienced Elvis Mutapcic in a 195-pound catchweight, and he fought well until he had no gas left in his tank.
Tiller went toe to toe with the former MFC middleweight championship, but once he got tired, it was all Mutapcic. With good takedowns and a solid ground and pound, "The King" dominated the last couple rounds to win his first fight since February 2013.
Brandon Hempleman and Alexis Vila threw a combined of 518 strikes in the WSOF fight, and the stats show exactly the type of fight that the bantamweights put on in Las Vegas. Hempleman defended an early takedown from Vila, so the Cuban wrestler decided to stay standing against the much younger 135-pounder.
Vila relied on a right-overhand during the entire bout, while Hempleman countered with clean shots to earn the win via unanimous decision. Hempleman returns to the win column after Marlon Moraes snapped his six-fight win streak in his promotional debut a year ago, improving his professional record to 10-2.
In the night's televised opener, Matt Sayles took on a much more experienced Bryson Hansen, and he showed a lot of heart in his WSOF debut. Hansen rocked Sayles early in the bantamweight fight and almost got the TKO finish, but "Robo" managed to survive the round. He came back better and landed the better shots in the next rounds, improving to 3-0 with the unanimous decision.