LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The "injury bug" that has plagued MMA lately isn't just targeting the UFC. The last few weeks have been equally tumultuous for the RFA, especially now that Alessandro "Zoio" Ferreira has become the fifth fighter on the RFA 4 fight card to be forced out due to an injury this month.
Ferreira was scheduled to face fellow jiu-jitsu black belt Fredson Paixão on the main card of RFA 4. Luckily for Paixão, RFA officials worked quickly to match him with Lance Palmer, who was originally set to fight Nick Macias at RFA 4. Unfortunately, Macias also got pulled from the card due to a recent injury.
The new bout pitting Palmer against Paixão is compelling to say the least. It will pair the 25-year-old American fighter Palmer, who at 4-0 is widely considered one of the sport's most highly-rated blue chip featherweight prospects against the 33-year-old Brazilian fighter Paixão, who at 10-4 is a veteran of three of the world's most respected MMA promotions: UFC, WEC, and Jungle Fights.
However, what is more interesting is the level of success both men have achieved in their respective disciplines before crossing over into MMA. Palmer is one of the most decorated wrestlers in Ohio high school history, was featured in the acclaimed wrestling documentary "Pinned", and was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Ohio State. He was also a Big Ten champion and national runner-up.
Meanwhile, Paixão is one of the most decorated jiu-jitsu practitioners to compete in MMA. He is a 3-time black belt World champion, 8-time Brazilian National champion (5 of these titles as a black belt), Copa Osvaldo Alves champion, and he holds a win over 8-time jiu-jitsu World champion Robson Moura.
"The Party" (Palmer) and "The King of Wristlocks" (Paixão) share one other common link, which just shows how widely respected their wrestling (Palmer) and jiu-jitsu (Paixão) backgrounds are. Palmer served as Urijah Faber's wrestling coach for Team Faber on the UFC's reality television show The Ultimate Fighter 15 last spring, while Paixão has been enlisted to teach jiu-jitsu at the official Zuffa gym.
Since Palmer and Paixão were already scheduled to compete against other opponents at RFA 4, both were already deep into their respective training camps, happily accepted the new challenge, and will be more than ready to go on Friday, November 2nd. Palmer has been training alongside his teammates at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, while Paixão opted to return to his roots to train in his home country of Brazil.
RFA 4 is set to be headlined by a showdown pitting two former UFC lightweight stars against each other, as 5-time UFC "Fight of the Night" winner Tyson Griffin meets TUF 8 champion Efrain Escudero. These fights and more will take place at the Dallas Events Center inside the Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, November 2nd. The event will be televised live nationwide on AXS TV.