Two major World Series Of Fighting signings from the UFC, Rousimar Palhares and Yushin Okami, will both be making their debuts at an event on March 29th the promotion has announced.
At this stage opponents haven’t been confirmed for either fighter though.
Palhares arrives in the WSOF’s cage after his UFC career came to a controversial end when he was cut for failing to release a heel hook submision after his opponent tapped. This wasn’t the first time the Brazilian has been involved in such an incident and coming just one fight after he’d tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, it proved to be the final straw for the promotion.
A number of other top MMA outfits overlooked Palhares following his release due to his bad reputation, and at first WSOF did too, but eventually they relented and decided that he deserved a second chance – the lure of being able to sign a well known fighter with a fearsome reputation as one of the deadliest submission experts in the game proving to enticing to resist.
Okami also left the UFC in controversial circumstances, though for an almost polar-opposite reason in that he didn’t appear to have done anything wrong at all.
The UFC released the Japanese fighter after just one TKO loss to Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza last year despite the fact he’d won his previous three fights, held an overall 13-5 record in the UFC and was currently ranked as one of their top 10 middleweights.
While the UFC didn’t say as much, it’s widely believed that the real reason he was cut is that the UFC’s brass don’t like Okami’s wrestle-heavy approach to fighting that relies almost entirely on positional control and often leads to less than exciting fights.
Nonetheless, the UFC’s decision to cut him was met by somewhat of a backlash from fans who felt that he had been unfairly treated by the promotion he’d called him for the past seven years.
Cue WSOF swooping in to sign him, and while it remains to be seen if he’ll put on entertaining fights for the promotion, there’s no doubt his presence significantly enhances the quality and credibility of their roster.