While some falter under the spotlight, Professional Fighters League star Lance Palmer has found a home under the bright lights of center stage. It’s a familiar place and one the former WSOF featherweight champ finds himself in at #PFLFightNight.
Heading into the nation’s capital, Palmer is set to square off against Steven Siler in a featherweight tilt. It will be Palmer’s first MMA fight since dropping the title to the undefeated Andre Harrison earlier this year. Palmer broke his hand during the contest and took some time off to recover from the injury.
“Everything went great,” Palmer said regarding the surgery and rehab. “They did what they needed to do to reinforce my bone with bone graphs, plates and screws and stuff like that. I took half the summer to rehab and let it heal up but everything is great. I’m ready to go.”
Although he didn’t step back into the Decagon, Palmer was still active. Training at the famed Team Alpha Male, Palmer kept his skills sharp heading into the long summer months and worked on his grappling. The former Division-I wrestler competed at a Fight to Win grappling event, taking home a victory in a no-gi grappling bout.
With the chance to make the walk to the Decagon at hand, Palmer will attempt to avoid suffering back to back losses for the first time in his career. Palmer faced off against the undefeated Harrison back at WSOF35 in a matchup between two of the best 145-pound fighters outside the Octagon. After breaking his hand in the fight, Palmer saw his featherweight strap be put around the waist of Harrison.
“There’s always different things I could do differently,” Palmer said. “When it comes down to it, it was a great fight we both had good gameplans going into it. He didn’t do anything that surprised me. There are a lot of other things that I wanted to implement in that fight that I couldn’t after I broke my hand. But there’s nothing you can do about that. It was a great fight. I still got two rounds on some of the judges’ scorecards, so I’m not too concerned about it.”
With the Harrison fight fully in his rear-view mirror, Palmer faces another tough opponent in Siler. The featherweight competed on season 14 of “The Ultimate Fighter” and went 5-4 inside the UFC. After being cut from the UFC, Siler went on a hot streak that earned him a crack at Harrison under the Titan FC banner.
Holding a 29-16 record and UFC experience, Siler is a well-seasoned veteran despite being only 30-years old. While Siler doesn’t have an undefeated record or a heralded background like some of Palmer’s past opponents, he does have the distinction of being a well-known name by MMA fans. Having an established name is just what “The Party” is looking for in an opponent.
“I think it’s a great opponent because he has a lot of experience, he was on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and he was in the UFC,” Palmer said. “It’s a great opponent to go out and show my skills. It’s a great win to put under my belt. I’ve fought tough competition the whole time I’ve fought in the WSOF, maybe not just the notoriety. Everyone knows guys in the UFC because that’s what everyone watches. But I’ve fought some of the toughest guys that people haven’t heard of. I’ve been fighting tough guys for a long time, so this is nothing different.”
Indeed it will be business as usual for Palmer at #PFLFightNight. After becoming a national champion wrestler in high school, Palmer went on to wrestle for the prestigious Ohio State wrestling team. There, he would earn All-American honors each of the four years he competed along with a Big 10 title and finishing second at the NCAA Championships in 2010.
Once his collegiate wrestling career came to an end, Palmer transitioned to MMA where he rattled off seven consecutive victories, including a the Resurrection Fighting Alliance featherweight strap. Palmer has stepped into the national spotlight against Georgi Karakhanyan, Rick Glenn, Chris Horodecki, Alexandre Almeida and Harrison. Each of these title contests were either the main event or co-main event of the card. Despite being a clear focal point of the WSOF and PFL, Palmer doesn’t feel there’s any added pressure to competing under the bright lights.
“I don’t really feel like I’m in the spotlight,” Palmer said. “We were the co main event in my last fight and I was the co main event before that. I’ve been the co main event for most of the cards I’ve fought on, so that doesn’t bother me honestly. It’s here nor there. I don’t get paid more or less to be the main, co-main or first fight on the card. It just comes down to wanting to win at all costs.”
And winning at #PFLFightNight is a simple formula for the former Buckeye.
“He backs up a lot with his head up. He comes forward a little but if you put the pressure on him, he breaks. He’s a tough fighter, but I’m the better fighter, I’m tougher and that’s it.”
It certainly seems as though Palmer’s confidence is at an all-time high heading into #PFLFightNight. He will need to use that confidence along with his talented set of skills to get a convincing win over Siler. Beyond just picking up a big win at #PFLFightNight, Palmer will also be looking to avoid taking too much damage inside the Decagon.
“I was supposed to get married 2 days ago and then they pulled the ol switcheroo on my fight at the end of August. I have eight days to heal,” Palmer said with a laugh.
The Nov. 2 event will hail from the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. and will round out the PFL’s 2017 schedule. The show will be streamed live at ProfessionalFightersLeague.com, Facebook Live, YouTube, Periscope, via the FITE TV app and on the Kiswe Mobile App.
Full Fight card: