Luis Palomino’s speed and power were on full display last night at World Series of Fighting 12 as he stopped the previously undefeated prospect Lewis Gonzalez with a brutal knee and follow up punches near the end of round one. After the fight, there was the obligatory talk of a title shot, but the question remains, did the Peruvian fighter do enough to warrant fighting for the belt?
“Baboon” has amassed a 22-9 record, recording spectacular knockouts in his two WSOF fights. He may be a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, but as he’s fond of saying, he likes to bang if given the opportunity.
Even though his career dates back to 2006, and includes stints in promotions like Bellator, Xtreme Fighting Championships and Championship Fighting Alliance, it feels like Palomino has found his stride and may even be peaking at 33.
Though Gonzalez was game, coming in with a 9-0 record, he was thoroughly overmatched, ultimately catching a knee that left him sprawled on the canvas well after referee Herb Dean stepped in to save him. The two shots he ate on the ground didn’t help matters, but it appeared a done deal at that point.
Palomino, 7-2 over his last nine fights, certainly made an impressive case and asked for WFOF’s blessing for a title shot while still in the ring. Who he could face remains up in the air at this point, as current lightweight champ Justin Gaethje is slated to defend his belt against Melvin Guillard sometime later this year.
Gaethje, a perfect 12-0, is coming off his first successful title defense, which came against the highly touted Nick Newell at WSOF 11, the first ever MMA event on NBC. Guillard fought on that same card, earning a second round TKO victory over JZ Cavalcante in his first fight outside the UFC octagon since 2008.
The prospect of Palomino climbing into the cage with either of these fighters has fireworks written all over it, and has the makings of a blockbuster main event. We saw how exciting “Baboon” can be last night, WSOF president Ray Sefo insists on calling Gaethje the “white Mike Tyson” for his aggressive, pressing style, and Guillard has never been one to put on a boring fight, win or lose.
We can’t wait to see Gaethje and Guillard collide, but we would also very much like to see Palomino throw down with whoever has the belt the next morning. Let’s hope WSOF feels the same way and makes it happen.