Rousimar Palhares enjoyed another successful defense of his MMA World Series of Fighting welterweight title last night.
But — given the nature of his wins — how long will he enjoy having a career in MMA?
Palhares just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Mostly because, he can’t seem to let go of his submission holds after the opponent taps and the referee calls for a break.
Back in 2013, a series of incidents led to Palhares, who is undoubtedly one of the best submission artists in MMA, to be released from the UFC.
He got another chance with WSOF, where he has done a bit better. But there’s a cloud over him every time he fights. He cranked a kneebar on Jon Fitch in their bout last year — but many felt a referee out of position was at fault.
And now, here’s our latest, from last night’s win over Jake Shields:
As you can see, after all these issues, he’s still sure in no rush to stop cranking his opponents’ extremities as asked.
After completing a brilliant reversal to obtain dominant position, Palhares cranks a Kimura on Shields, and doesn’t stop despite a dozen or so taps — and a frantic referee Steve Mazzagati pleading him to stop.
Was Mazagatti a bit out of position? Yeah, maybe a little. Should he have known to not simply tap Palhares’ shoulder to signal a break, and immediately go to that familiar “pulling” that it seems Palhares needs? Yes, definitely. But in the end it all comes down to that slow, eccentric Palhares who just can’t seem to react quickly enough.
There’s a second controversy regarding eye pokes. Shields complained after the bout that he was gouged as many as eight times.
“I knew he was a dirty cheater,” Shields would say after the contest. “But I wasn’t ready for the eye gouges.”
Palhares has recorded four straight submission wins now over some impressive names. It’s a wonder anyone even remembers.