An aggressive Pierce charged the Brazilian right out of the gate, forcing a scramble against the cage. Palhares attempted one leg lock before standing, only to drop down for another.
Though Pierce had escaped the first submission attempt, Palhares' pressure proved too much on the next attempt, forcing a quick tap. Palhares snapped a two-fight losing streak in the process.
Here's what we learned:
What We'll Remember About This Fight
Another Palhares leg lock. He's done it several times before, and opponents ought to know better at this point than to risk their lower limbs against "Toquinho." But even if he is most famous for his leg locks, Palhares continues to force opponents to submit to them, as if fighters aren't convinced that the locks are all that good. Again he reminds us that they are.
What We Learned About Rousimar Palhares
We already knew that Palhares was a wizard on the ground, and his leg locks have always been the most feared in the sport. So the heel hook submission win over Pierce was not all that surprising. Did we learn anything about the Brazilian then? All we can say at this point is that Palhares is extremely competitive against fighters outside the top 10 or top 15 in the welterweight division, as this win shows. He just can't seem to break through into contention.
What We Learned About Mike Pierce
Pierce actually had a strong gameplan in this one, rushing forward early in an attempt to get to Palhares. The last three times Palhares was defeated, he was knocked out in the first round. Unfortunately, we learned that Pierce, though somewhat powerful, should never rely on his striking to win a fight. And that submission defense? Yeah, he needs to work on that, too.
What's Next For Palhares
Palhares won't get a top-10 guy next time out, but there are plenty of options outside of the ranked welterweights. One possibility is a match-up against Stephen Thompson, who defeated Chris Clements via knockout at UFC 165, which would set up a striker vs. grappler matchup. Another option is for Palhares to meet the winner of Erick Silva vs. Dong Hyun Kim, who fight in the co-main event later tonight.
What's Next For Pierce
Pierce takes a big step back, but he is still one of the better known unranked fighters (even if he's spent a good share of time on Facebook prelims). A matchup against the loser of Nate Marquardt vs. Hector Lombard fight seems like a fine idea. Those two meet at UFC 166.