Color me reactionary, but I have a feeling that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight contender Mike Pierce won't be getting many cheers when he fights Rousimar Palhares at the UFC Fight Night 29 event, which takes place at Jose Correa Arena in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Oct. 9, 2013.
Just a hunch.
It may have something to do with the fact that Pierce -- winner of four straight -- is not shy about venting his frustration over the promotion's decision to match him up against "Toquinho," who made the cut down to 170 pounds after two straight losses as a "cheating" middleweight.
His words to ESPN:
"Of course, I'm pissed off. I want to start getting those main card fights against notable guys. Palhares has fought some tough guys. He's got a little bit of credence to his name but I want to start working my up. This guy is coming off two losses and I'm on a four-fight win streak. Typically, they don't match up guys like that. I haven’t had too much interaction with Joe Silva. I’ve had brief words with him. He’s not a huge fan of most people who smash guys up against the fence and grind on them, hit them on the side, that sort of stuff -- which, I get. That’s not exciting. He’s like, 'I don’t care if it’s a submission, a TKO or a knockout. Look for finishes.' I get that, but it’s hard to do that sometimes when a guy is fresh or you have two skilled fighters. It’s hard to catch them sleeping. And I have had two good finishes in my last three fights... There was that one clear, obvious [cheat] where (Palhares) held it when the referee told him to let go and he got fined by a commission (UFC 111). Then recently, he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels (UFC on FX 6), so this guy is definitely a cheat. There's no surprise. He'll do anything to win because he's either desperate or an asshole. I'm not too concerned about that. I come in expecting he's going to be mean, try to be a bully, try to cheat -- I have to deal with it."
Glad to see Pierce (17-5) is not afraid to poke the bear.
Despite his recent setbacks (like this one), Palhares (14-5) has a frightening submission game, including what could be the nastiest heel hook in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). That weapon could come in handy against a wrestling-based offense, further fueled by these recent comments from Pierce.
But the Oregonian is no slouch, himself.
His only losses in 12 trips to the Octagon have come against former division number one contenders. Before he dropped razor-thin split decisions to Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck, he was outpointed by Jon Fitch, but had the former Purdue wrestler in all kinds of trouble in the third and final frame.
He's still waiting for his breakout fight to get him into the title hunt.
Will this be it?