WSOF confirmed today that UFC veterans Rousimar Palhares (16-6) and John Fitch (26-6-1) will touch gloves in the welterweight title main event in WSOF 16. While the two were supposed to face off at WSOF 11, Palhares withdrew from their scheduled fight for personal reasons. The Las Vegas-based promotion confirmed they will host the fight on December 16th in a location yet to be determined. Will Palhares be able to keep the World Series of Fighting welterweight strap?
Rousimar Palhares is a former UFC fighter, but was dropped by the organization for an accumulation of offenses. He tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in his fight against Hector Lombard and he had two late releases of heel hook submissions against Tomasz Drawl and Mike Pierce. Palhares signed on with WSOF in November of 2013 where he took the welterweight championship against Steve Carl by inverted heel hook submission. Palhares’ grappling abilities are his greatest strength going into his fight with Fitch. 13 of his 16 victories have come by submission and his stocky build make him very difficult to grapple with. He errs very much on the side of grappling, but has taken 2 KO losses in his las 4 fights. Palhares would greatly benefit from preparing his striking game for the stand up strengths of his welterweight challenger.
Jon Fitch was controversially dropped from the UFC following his loss to Demian Maia, but he has since made a career in WSOF with a 2-1 record. He has taken his last two fights against Marcelo Alfaya and Dennis Hallmann by unanimous decision, but Fitch will make for an excellent opponent for his equally impressive grappling skills. He is a former NCAA division 1 wrestler and also a jiu-jitsu black belt. He will have to use every ounce of grappling skill to be able to last at all against the expertise of Palhares. Fitch has taken the majority of his wins by decision, but going the distance against Palhares will prove difficult. The Welterweight champion has only lost by decision three times in his career.