WSOF 12: Lewis Gonzalez Weighs in on “Heavy-Handed” Luis Palomino, Pressure to Extend Undefeated Record
By FCF Staff
Lewis Gonzalez may be fighting in the headliner of World Series of Fighting 12, and in a bout which could determine the next lightweight title contender, but “Lethal” says pressure won’t play a factor. Even if it is the biggest fight of the 26 year-old’s career to date.
This Saturday, on August 9th, Gonzalez will look to extend his 9-0 record against 30 fight plus vet, Luis Palomino. The main event billing has been given to Gonzalez after just one appearance with the promotion, when he decisioned Antonio McKee last August.
“The pressure builds a little every time (having an undefeated record),” Gonzalez relayed on a recent media call to promote WSOF 12, which will be be hosted by the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Especially being on the big stage and having that zero in the loss column. But when you get in the cage all the fights are the same and it all goes away. The nerves are up a little more but once you get in there it all goes away and the pressure is all off.”
“I have the mentality, like Ray (Sefo) said, as being known as a grinder. I work hard and I pride myself on having more heart than my opponent and I just keep the pace longer than they do,” the experienced wrestler relayed while discussing his impressive run. “No matter what happens I just keep going forward and I just think my mental toughness is what has kept me undefeated so far.”
The winner of Saturday’s headliner could move onto face the winner of an expected title fight between lightweight champ Justin Gaethje and UFC vet Melvin Guillard. That championship bout has yet to be assigned a date and venue.
“I was already offered the fight (against Justin Gaethje) back in January but unfortunately I got hurt,” said Gonzalez, while discussing his title shot aspirations. “I can see why they gave it to Melvin (Guillard), but I think with a win next weekend, that would put me next in line for that title shot against whoever wins that fight.”
In Palomino, Gonzalez will face an experienced vet, who showcased his stopping power at WSOF 8 in January when he KO’d Jorge Patino. Of the 33 year-old fighter’s last five victories, four have come way of knockout.
“(Luis) is a very heavy-handed guy and I’ve watched a couple of his fights and his hands are dangerous,” Gonzalez noted about Palomino. “I’ve just got to play it smart and keep my range. The one thing that I’ve noticed was in the fights he’s won by knockouts that even before he knocks them out he’s taken down a couple of times. He swings for the fences and when he connects it’s devastating, but when he misses he leaves himself open for takedowns. I feel like I’m a stronger wrestler than most of the guys he has fought.”
Of course, not surprisingly, Palomino outlined during the media call why he’ll be ready for Gonzalez at WSOF 12.
“The game plan has been adjusted (to account for Gonzalez’s strong wrestling). We’ve seen when I get a little over-excited in my striking what happens. If he’s going to be waiting for me to miss, it’s going to be a very short fight,” said Palomino. “Accuracy is on point and I’ve been getting ready for this fight for like seven months. There is no off-season for me. My game has only improved. I’ve been facing wrestlers since the beginning of my career. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: he’s a talented fighter and I respect him, but he’s not bringing anything new to the table.”
WSOF 12 will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.