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No more Mr. Bad Guy: Rousimar Palhares aiming for fresh start in WSOF title fight

There once was a time when Rousimar Palhares could have been the dirtiest player in the game. That being said, "Toquinho" is ready to put the lingering past behind him, by focusing on winning gold at WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares" on March 29, 2014.

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Rousimar Palhares wasn't exactly showing great sportsmanship in the past when he fought for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

"Toquinho" was released by the promotion after several incidents in which he did not let go of his notorious heel hook submission after his opponent clearly tapped.

The brass pulled the plug on his ZUFFA career directly after UFC Fight Night 29 in Brazil, where Palhares defeated Mike Pierce in 31 seconds and cranked on his opponent's leg until referee Keith Peterson had to physically separate them.

Palhares considers those unfortunate occurrences a thing of the past, focusing on the impact he hopes to have in World Series of Fighting (WSOF), speaking to the media about his debut fight earlier today in a conference call for WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares."

"I don't have much to say about the past at this point. I am focusing all of my energy on this fresh start with World Series of Fighting and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue fighting elite fighters on an internationally televised and well respected organization."

The Brazilian signed for the mixed martial arts (MMA) organization nearly a month later, with president Ray Sefo keeping a close eye on the former UFC bad boy and leaving no room for any nonsense.

The Team Nogueira fighter is embarking on a new voyage in the WSOF cage, unaffected by the circumstances of his release and admitted he had made a foolish decision, directly after he was let go.

He makes his promotional debut against Steve Carl, challenging for the WSOF welterweight championship at WSOF 9: "Carl vs. Palhares," and he's more than eager to showcase his talent inside a new cage.

"Steve Carl is a tremendous athlete, and I have a great deal of respect for him. He is the champion in an extremely tough welterweight division. I'm blessed to be in a position to challenge him for his title, so now I need to go out there and do my best and show the world that I deserve that belt more than he does."

"Toquinho" was also very complimentary when speaking about his peers in WSOF, eager to join fellow UFC castoffs Jon Fitch, Josh Burkman and Gerald Harris in the upstart promotion.

"I was approached by several organizations and had many offers on the table, but I felt that WSOF was the best option for me at the moment. Their welterweight division is very deep with top talent like Steve Carl, Jon Fitch, Josh Burkman, Tyler Stinson, Gerald Harris, and I am anxious to test myself against all of them."

World Series of Fighting 9: "Carl vs. Palhares," which features a welterweight title fight between champ Steve Carl and challenger Rousimar Palhares, as well as Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Rettinghouse for the inaugural World Series of Fighting bantamweight title, takes place March 29 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Will "Toquinho" live up to his words?

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