Lance Palmer went from favorite to longshot in a hurry.
The two-time Professional Fighters League champion will lock horns with the undefeated Movlid Khaybulaev in a PFL 6 featherweight showcase on Friday at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Palmer, 33, needs a first-round finish in order to clinch the lone remaining playoff spot at 145 pounds outright. He last appeared at PFL 1, where he dropped a three-round unanimous decision to Bubba Jenkins on April 23. The loss was Palmer’s first in more than four years and snapped his career-best 11-fight winning streak.
As Palmer makes final preparations for his pivotal confrontation with Khaybulaev, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. The singlet suited him.
Palmer compiled a 150-6 record and won four state championships as a prep wrestler at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, his exploits enough to earn him a scholarship to Ohio State University. He was a four-time NCAA All-American for the Buckeyes, reaching the national final as a senior. Palmer still ranks ninth on the school’s all-time wins list with 121. He was inducted into the Ohio State University Hall of Fame in 2020.
2. He targets one particular area of vulnerability.
All eight of Palmer’s submission victories have involved the neck. He owns four such wins by rear-naked choke, two by neck crank, one by guillotine choke and one by arm-triangle choke.
3. Durability has been a calling card.
Palmer has only been finished once in his 26-fight career. Georgia Karakhanyan was the perpetrator, as he submitted “The Party” with a guillotine choke 4:40 into the third round of their World Series of Fighting 7 main event on Dec. 7, 2013. It marked Palmer’s first defeat as a professional.
4. He values exclusivity.
Palmer was one of five men to win the World Series of Fighting featherweight championship. The others? Karakhanyan, Ricky Glenn, Alexandre Almeida and Andre Harrison. Palmer was the only one of the five to win the title twice. He held the 145-pound crown from Dec. 13, 2014 to Dec. 18, 2015 and again from July 30, 2016 to March 18, 2017.
5. He travels light.
“The Party” has never fought outside of North America. Two of his bouts have taken place in Canada, while the other 24 have gone down in the United States.