Rousimar Palhares was stopped in 45 seconds in his first loss since 2012, and he is still upset with the finish.
Fighting outside of World Series of Fighting for the first time after being suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission in 2015, "Toquinho" met Emil Meek for the inaugural Venator FC welterweight title on May 21. It ended up with Palhares knocked out in under a minute.
Palhares, who had a perfect four-fight submission streak as a welterweight snapped in Italy, shot for a single leg early in the fight. Meek countered with vicious elbows that put the grappling expert unconscious, and "Toquinho" complains that his opponent hit the back of his head.
"What went wrong in the fight is that I was hit with illegal elbows in the back of the head and couldn’t see anything next," Palhares told MMA Fighting. "When I was hit, I went out. I couldn’t even understand what happened. I kept asking my corners what happened, because I felt a strike in the back of my head and then I just saw the referee in front of me, and felt the pain in the back of my head. I was upset because I didn’t fight and they let him continue after the first strike in the back of the head. I wasn’t in the fight anymore after it."
Palhares went to a hospital in Milan after the fight, and will visit his doctor again in Rio de Janeiro.
"I didn’t say anything (after the fight) because I was off, but my coaches saw and complained, but nobody did anything," he said. "They just sent me to the hospital for observation, to make sure everything was alright with my brain. I stayed there for 12 hours and then they let me go, and asked me to do another MRI in Brazil."
Currently suspended in the United States, "Toquinho" won’t decide his next move before getting another MRI done in Brazil -- and that includes trying to get the loss overturned due to illegal strikes.
"I’m not 100 percent yet. Let me get the MRI done first," said the Brazilian. "I don’t want to cause harm to anyone, I just want to be healthy. I was afraid, but I know I can walk now. It would be devastating to become paralyzed because of an infraction like that. I feel dizzy sometimes, but I’m happy I’m walking. I’m afraid of this MRI results. About getting the fight overturned, honestly, I’m not worried right now. I just want to be as healthy as I was when I got there. We’ll think about it later.
"I will only know my next step after I get the MRI done because sometimes I feel I’m going to black out," he continued. "I feel dizzy when I look down. I’m not used to getting hit in the back of the head. I don’t blame the guy that fought me, but the referee shouldn’t let it continue. I’m strong, you know, and I still went out. Imagine if it’s someone else, someone not well prepared as I am? People could die."
The Team Nogueira welterweight guarantees he didn’t underestimate his opponent, who entered the fight with a 7-2 record with all of his wins and losses coming by stoppage. He also says that his recent issues with the athletic commission and WSOF were not a distraction during his camp.
"I’d never underestimate anyone that enters a cage to fight," Palhares said. "If you can go there and fight someone like me, who have been through a lot of things, for sure you can do it. And who am I to underestimate anyone in this world?
"It was my first fight since leaving WSOF and the suspension, so that disturbed me at first, no doubt about it," he continued. "I went through a lot, only my family and teammates know. But when I was offered this fight, I left it in the past. It didn’t affect me during the fight. What really affected me were the elbows to the back of the head. I only recall the first strike and I was out. I can’t remember anything else."