Lance Palmer made it look easy.
The World Series of Fighting featherweight champion outlanded Chris Horodecki standing, took him down twice and finished with a rear-naked choke at 4:28 of the first round in the main event of WSOF 21 on Friday night in Edmonton. It was Palmer's first title defense.
Palmer (10-1) landed good left hands and achieved back mount on Horodecki twice. The first time he cinched in a neck crank, but Horodecki was able to slip out. Horodecki wasn't so lucky the second time around. Palmer flattened him out and locked in the choke. Horodecki had no choice but to tap.
Palmer, 27, won the WSOF featherweight belt by beating Rick Glenn last December. In all, he was won three straight and has rounded into a blue-chip prospect for WSOF -- and maybe one of the organization's biggest names. The Team Alpha Male product and former Ohio State wrestling All-American has just one loss and it came to Bellator top contender Georgi Karakhanyan.
Horodecki (21-6) has now lost two of three fights. The Canadian is a 10-year veteran of pro MMA with fights in WEC, Bellator and the IFL.
In the co-main event, Blagoy Ivanov won the WSOF heavyweight title by beating Smealinho Rama via submission at 2:17 of the third round. Ivanov, who was making his World Series debut, only made it to Edmonton from Las Vegas late last night after having visa issues and weighed in earlier Friday. The former Bellator fighter was stabbed and nearly died in 2012. This culminates an incredible comeback.
Ivanov (12-1) caught Rama with some big left hooks in the third round, dropping him. Once down, Ivanov pounced and as Rama tried to get up he snared his neck.
Ivanov, 29, was coming off a loss to Alexander Volkov in Bellator in May 2014. That's the only loss of the Bulgarian's career and he has beaten the likes of Ricco Rodriguez and Lavar Johnson. Rama (9-2) won the inaugural WSOF heavyweight belt by beating Derrick Mehmen last October. At 23, the Greece native and Canada resident remains a solid prospect in a thin division.
Hakeem Dawodu chewed Chuka Willis up with knees to the body in the main card opener, resulting in a TKO at 2:55 of the second round. Willis had enough and made that known to the referee. Dawodu (5-0), who is just 23 years old, has now won all of his pro fights -- all in WSOF -- by TKO.
The prelims featured a very bizarre scenario. Matt Baker was supposed to meet Marcus Hicks, but Hicks had a tough weight cut and withdrew from the fight Friday. With Baker needing a fighter, his own teammate and cornerman Thiago Goncalves stepped in to fight him.
The two went at it for two rounds, but Baker didn't seem to be motivated to hurt his close friend. After the second round, he told the referee he had a hand injury and verbally tapped. Goncalves will go down as the victor.
Also on the prelims, Justin Sander made his pro debut by beating Dan Lariviere by second-round submission and Michael Hay dispatched Louie Grover via first-round submission.