PFL 1 Results: Bubba Jenkins Becomes First to Beat Lance Palmer in PFL

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Bubba Jenkins and Lance Palmer, PFL 1
Bubba Jenkins and Lance Palmer, PFL 1 2021 Credit: PFL

A showdown between arguably the top wrestlers in the PFL opened up the league’s main card Friday at PFL 1. The return of Lance Palmer was a given, as the two-time 145lb champ had never been defeated inside the promotion. But in an interesting twist, he’d been matched up with Bubba Jenkins, a rival from his collegiate wrestling days — who had defeated Palmer on the mats more than once.

The wrestling was key Friday night — and Bubba Jenkins displayed just how he had dominated Palmer all those years ago. Jenkins opened with his jab, while the pair traded kicks. Soon enough, Palmer got his left hand going, with the two wrestlers focusing entirely on the stand-up early. That would last through the first half of the opening round. Then, Jenkins opted to shoot for a takedown, completing it with a trip just as Palmer appeared ready to escape. Even when Palmer did work his way up, Jenkins went to work with heavy knees to the thigh. Jenkins would suplex Palmer back to the ground in the final minute, underscoring his dominance in the opening round.

Jenkins may have entered round two with a significant confidence boost. He also landed a right hand, though Palmer was able to fight off a takedown attempt. Palmer hit home with a low kick, an attack he’d repeat moments later. Still, Palmer, showing some damage to his face, was in a rare spot: through the first half of the fight, he was rather clearly behind. Almost identical to the first round, Jenkins would end up controlling Palmer, landing knees to the thigh. A scramble saw Palmer escape, but he was unable to catch Jenkins with anything in the way of offense.

Palmer was, without question, down entering the third round. In need of a finish, else he was at risk of losing for the first time in his PFL career. But it was Jenkins landing a knee to the body in the clinch. Knees to the leg followed. Palmer landed a punch low, halting the action for a few minutes. When the action resumed, Jenkins landed a body lock takedown. Near the end of the round, Palmer worked for a guillotine choke, but Jenkins freed himself, and any hope of a Palmer comeback was dashed.

Official Result: Bubba Jenkins def. Lance Palmer by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

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