PFL 2 2019: Lance Palmer Feeling Benefits of Training with Mark Henry

Lance Palmer has a target on his back after winning the featherweight championship in the first season of PFL. He proved he is not to be messed with after a one-sided victory against Alex Gilpin.

Uniondale, NY – Lance Palmer headlined the second card of the PFL 2019 season and delivered with a 15-minute domination of Alex Gilpin. After the victory, Palmer reflected on the division as a whole and his performance.

“Overall, tonight, I felt like I did a great job my first fight back in the new season. Coming back as a champion from last season. Going against a guy who isn’t well-known but he showed his toughness and he showed that he belongs here, as did many of the other featherweights tonight. It’s good to have all the competition that we saw tonight in the featherweight division for season two. When it comes down to it, when you win at the end of the year, you want to know that you went through the best of the best to get there. I’m excited to see how the rest of the season begins to play out. There were some crazy knockouts, some guys that lost tonight like [Steven] Siler who was a finalist last year but lost a decision tonight. I’m sure he’ll be back. He’s a guy that’s super tough. [Andre] Harrison got a win tonight, which was great. As a veteran of the PFL, guys like Harrison, Siler… [Alexandre] Almeida missed weight, so that hurts him in the points a bit. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of good guys who showed they belong here tonight. So I had to try and prove myself tonight. I didn’t get the finish like I wanted to but I feel that I showed my dominance.”

Palmer is primarily a wrestler, but he’s adding new tools in his effort to capture a second PFL title. That was showcased when he knocked down Gilpin in the first round of the contest.

“I was super excited because [Mark Henry] always tells me, ‘Throw more than two punches, the first two punches aren’t always going to land. You have to throw the combos because the third, fourth, fifth punch that’s going to land when they’re not ready. After I missed the first two punches as he took his head back, I landed the overhand. We’ve only been working together for seven weeks too. It’s like, this is what we’ve worked on in his basement. The whole time through this camp, he’s been saying, ‘Just like on the pads. Just like on the pads.’ Just letting my hands go. I know I have power, so it’s not like I need to throw hard punches. It’s just getting more comfortable throwing those combos, keeping my stance where it needs to be. When I landed that, he recovered really well with it, but I knew this is exactly what I wanted out of this transition to start working with Mark Henry. So you’re going to keep seeing more and more of that, and hopefully some finishes on the feet as well. Obviously, my bread and butter is on the ground, and he did a good job at defending the back when I had the back. And he had good hand control in there so I wasn’t able to get the rear-naked choke. He was a tough opponent. I was very happy with being able to drop him with that combo.”

A big change “The Party” has made is moving to Nick Catone MMA in New Jersey under respected coach Mark Henry. That change looks to be paying dividends and Palmer explained how it all came together.

“It was something that I wanted to do last year. I originally moved from Team Alpha Male in 2017 back to Columbus, Ohio. My wife and I are both from Ohio so I wanted to plant our roots in Columbus. I talked to Ali [Abdelaziz] about moving to Jersey in 2017. But once I found out that Timur Valiev was going to be in our season last year, it wasn’t going to work because we were both the same weight at the time because they didn’t do a bantamweight division. It was actually a blessing in disguise though, because I got to meet the guys that coached me all of last year out in Vegas at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu like Coach Casey [Halstead] and Coach Casey is still with me now. We’re going to ride this until the wheels fall off. All the guys I’ve met in Vegas, Joseph Benavidez is one of my best friends, and it kind of got sparked because I stayed with him for a week or two out there. Then I rolled through and did my first camp out there last year. Then second and third and we just rolled through the whole season there. But the main reason I moved to New Jersey was to be closer to home. Jersey to Ohio is a lot closer than Vegas to Ohio whether you’re flying or driving. That was the main thing. I have a good relationship with Frankie [Edgar], obviously Marlon [Moraes], we fought on a lot of the same cards when it was World Series of Fighting. So I already had a little relationship with Mark [Henry] and Ricardo [Almeida]. It was just something where I think we blend really well together. Frankie is one of the best striker grappler combos of mixing up his punching and his wrestling. That’s something that I’ve always admired about Frankie. And he’s a product of Mark, so that’s why.”

Palmer has noticed a trend of opponents trying to pressure him. However, that’s only come back to bite them. The same thing happened in this fight.

“I feel like in a lot of my fights, like last year, the very first fight of the season when I fought [Bekbulat] Magomedov, he started coming towards me and he actually shot on me when I got the takedown to set up the finish last year. And then Jumabieke [Tuerxun] in the second fight of last year, which was actually here in July, he shot on me and I got the takedown and the finish. I was trying to see, since Gilpin has more of a wrestling base, if he was going to throw that overhand and set up a shot and try and use that to get to the legs so I can get a scramble to get on top. But once I saw that the combos were going to be open and that inside leg kick was going to be open. His pressure was not really helping him in my opinion. But maybe that was his gameplan and he didn’t have any other option.”

Check out the rest of Lance Palmer’s post-fight press conference above!