Posted 08/05/2014 by Jesse Scheckner in WSOF

WSOF 12: Palomino vs. Gonzalez – A Preview/Breakdown of the Main Card

WSOF 12 posterWSOF 12: Palomino vs. Gonzalez
August 9, 2014 | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
Main Card – NBC Sports: 10 PM/7 PM ET|PT Prelims: 8 PM/5 PM ET|PT

For the fifth time since its inaugural event was held almost two years ago at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, the MMA World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is returning to Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday for WSOF 12: Palomino vs. Gonzalez. With a main event bout between Luis “Baboon” Palomino and “Lethal” Lewis Gonzalez that could possibly produce the next challenger to lightweight champion Justin Gaethje’s title and a co-main event between Nova Uniao product Ronny Markes and tough underdog Cully “The Mason” Butterfield, this card, while lacking some of the pizzazz of previous WSOF offerings, still has some interesting bouts worth tuning in for.

Rather than go over the ENTIRE main card (as I’ve done in previous entries), I’ll instead provide an overview of just the main event, the co-main event and one fight – either on the main card or the prelims – that tickles my fancy in one way or another. In the future, I’m open to any sort of suggestion as to which fight, outside of the main and co-main bouts, should be featured as my “wildcard” fight, however I’ve made matters rather simple this time around.

I know what you’re thinking, “’Tickles my fancy’ is no way to talk when discussing MMA.” I guess you’re right. But what’s done is done. Let’s move on.



Main Event
Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Luis “Baboon” Palomino [22-9]
“Lethal” Lewis Gonzalez [9-0]

Over the course of his eight-year career, Luis “Baboon” Palomino’s pretty much seen everything a fighter can hope to see outside of an eight-sided cage. Born in Lima, Peru and living in Miami, Florida, the 33-year-old MMA Masters stalwart’s tenure in the sport has experienced its ups and downs, however one thing appears rather clear when examining his record: his downs don’t stay that way for long.

Every time he’s lost, Palomino has come back stronger and sharper in his following fight. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2008 to find an instance where he lost back-to-back bouts. Over the course of the last couple years, his record’s been spotty (alternating wins and losses since June 2012) but all of his last three victories – including his WSOF debut this last January – have come by way of crushing knockout. His two losses during that period of time, both decisions, were to fighters who’ve never been knocked out in their careers (Luiz Firmino and Efrain Escudero). Fighters with even minutely suspect chins have had a historically rough time against this man, who happens to be Ricardo Lamas’ #1 training partner.

A two-time California State high school wrestling champion, undefeated 26-year-old lightweight prospect “Lethal” Lewis Gonzalez blasted through the regional circuit on his way to securing a WSOF contract last year. In his debut with the organization, he faced off against Antonio “Mandingo” McKee (28-6), a 44-year-old fellow former state wrestling champion. Although he wound up winning – and, in doing so, joined Jacob Volkmann, Karo Parisyan, Shinya Aoki, Ray Cooper and Chris Brennan as the only fighters to have beaten McKee – his lost opening round was the first of his career. He managed to tie things up in the second round, however an illegal elbow to the back of the head in the third round caused a premature stop to the bout. The judges ruled the bout in favor of Gonzalez by way of technical decision and McKee retired from the sport shortly afterwards. Suffice it to say, Gonzalez will want to deliver a more convincing performance this Saturday.

With a bruiser like Palomino standing across the Decagon from him, it’ll be hard for this fight not to deliver.


Co-Main Event
Middleweight (185 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Ronny Markes [14-3]
Cully “The Mason” Butterfield [13-3]

A two-fight losing skid (to Yoel Romero and Thiago Santos – both by way of knockout) in MMA’s premier organization sent well-rounded Brazilian middleweight Ronny Markes into free agency, a place he hadn’t found himself in quite some time after being recruited by the UFC following his unanimous decision victory over the ghost of Paulo Filho. He didn’t reside in career limbo for long, however, as the WSOF scooped up the once nigh-pristine Brazilian in April.

They’ve wasted little time putting him to work. The 26-year-old from Natal, Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil will be making his debut this Saturday against Cully “The Mason” Butterfield. Hailing from the mostly peaceful city of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Butterfield will without a doubt be among the biggest underdogs on the card come fight night, despite his terrific record.

“Last week I was laying block and pouring cement, in two weeks I will be going to war on the biggest stage of my life,” he wrote on July 23rd on Facebook.

10-1 in his last 11 fights (with four knockouts and three submissions), Butterfield could very well leapfrog much of the competition with an impressive performance on Saturday.


Middleweight (185 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Elvis “The King” Mutapcic [13-3]
Kelvin “The Mama’s Boy” Tiller [6-0]

Elvis Mutapcic was perhaps one win away from vying for the inaugural WSOF middleweight jewel-encrusted golden strap, however he was soundly smothered by Jesse Taylor en route to a unanimous decision loss. Since that time, we haven’t heard anything from the 28-year-old, who had been riding an impressive five-fight win streak before facing Taylor (among his wins: a unanimous decision over “Smilin’” Sam Alvey and a KO over TUF Brazil winner Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira).

The WSOF won’t be handing “The King” a mulligan in his return fight, however, as they’ve lined him up against ex-Bellator combatant Kelvin “The Mama’s Boy” Tiller, who is undefeated at 6-0 since making his pro debut in September 2011. Although the former American Top Team member’s takedown defense is far from pristine, his ability to artfully sweep from the bottom while threatening with submissions make him a threat on his back, while his kick-heavy offense on the feet should give Mutapcic a few things to concern himself with there as well.


Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Alexis “The Exorcist” Vila [14-4]
Brandon “Hot Rod” Hempleman [9-2]

Bantamweight (135 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Bryson Hanson [7-1]
Matt “Robo” Sayles [2-0]



Lightweight (155 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Lucas Montoya [6-3]
Jimmy Spicuzza [5-1]


Welterweight (170 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Danny “Dee1” Davis Jr. [9-8]
Jorge “Lil’ Monster” Lopez [11-4]


Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Adam Acquaviva [1-1]
Cody Maltais [2-0]


Featherweight (145 lbs.) Fight – 3 Rounds
Soslan Abanokov [4-1]
Bryson Gutches [2-0]

WSOF 12 poster

Jesse Scheckner

A freelance MMA, entertainment and business journo born, raised and residing in Miami, FL, Jesse Scheckner is a former semi-serious musician, cinephile and recovering ne’er-do-well committed to nonfiction storytelling. He is the 2014 Florida MMA Awards "Best MMA Media Correspondent" winner and a two-time Miami New Times "Best Of" winner. Follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner to talk about the stuff he writes about with him.