Sacramento has another mixed martial arts world champion.
Lance Palmer softened Rick Glenn with flurries of heavy overhand lefts throughout the first two rounds of their World Series of Fighting featherweight world title fight Saturday night and then used a rear naked choke in the third round to get Glenn to tap out and surrender his championship belt before 2,500 raucous fight fans at the McClellan Conference Center.
“It wasn’t just the lefts but also my jabs and the level changes,” Palmer said. “I had total control of that choke, and I wasn’t going to let go until he tapped out or went out (lost consciousness).”
Glenn, of Marshalltown, Iowa, was on a 13-fight winning streak but fell to 15-3-1.
Palmer (9-1) arrived in Sacramento from Cleveland almost four years ago to begin training with Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male. His title belt joins teammate TJ Dillashaw’s UFC bantamweight strap.
Dillashaw won his title in May, making 2014 the most successful ever for the Sacramento-based MMA team.
“We work hard as a team,” said Palmer, who was a four-time NCAA wrestling All-American at Ohio State.
“This win isn’t just about me or TJ (Dillashaw), but it’s a win for Team Alpha Male.”
In the other championship co-main event, Brazil’s Rousimar Palhares submitted Jon Fitch by a heel hook 90 seconds into the first round to retain his WSOF welterweight title.
Palhares improved to 17-6 with 14 of those victories coming by the heel hook, a torque-twisting move that has been known to snap legs and ankles.
Fitch fell to 26-7-1 and had to have his left leg splinted and iced after the fight.
The card featured nine Sacramento-area fighters, six of whom won their bouts. Along with Palmer, the local winners were Team Alpha Male members Joseph Morales, Erick Sanchez and David Mitchell, plus Dave Huckaba and Justin Durham.
Huckaba, a heavyweight, capped the preliminary card with an impressive second-round TKO of C.J. Leveque. Huckaba, formerly of Sacramento now living in North San Juan near Nevada City, improved to 22-7 with the victory over Leveque (8-8). Huckaba gave up 30 pounds to Leveque, who weighed in Friday at 295 pounds.
Huckaba said he used to train Leveque, a Brentwood native, and spent the better part of the first round staying away from Leveque’s haymakers. But a couple of stiff jabs from Huckaba to start the second round softened Leveque, and Huckaba went to work. Leveque crumbled to the mat under relentless punching pressure, and the fight was stopped 2:42 into the round.
Morales won his pro debut with a unanimous decision over Christian Espinosa in a flyweight bout. Sanchez, a featherweight, moved to 2-1 with a unanimous decision over Sacramento’s Drey Mitchell (2-3) while David Mitchell, no relation, had the only submission of the preliminary card, landing a rear naked choke and submitting Pittsburg’s Justin Baesman (15-6) 1:44 into the first round of their middleweight fight. Mitchell improved to 17-4.
Team Alpha Male’s Justin Buchholz (15-9) lost a split decision to Turlock’s Lewis Gonzalez (10-1) to start the main card that was broadcast live on NBC SportsNet.
In an amateur bantamweight bout that started the night’s action, Folsom’s Justin Durham improved to 6-0 with a unanimous decision over Dylan Blakesley (6-3) of Vancouver, Wash.
In other bouts, featherweight fighter Jason Powell (2-1) of Paradise won a unanimous decision over Lodi’s Chris Avila (1-2), and Dominic Waters (7-2) from Portland, Ore., handed Stockton’s Martin Sano (4-1) his first defeat by scoring a unanimous decision in a 148-pound catchweight bout.
On the main card, San Francisco featherweight Josh Berkovic improved to 6-0 with a unanimous victory over Kailua, Hawaii’s Brenson Hansen (7-3), and Brazil’s Sheymon Moraes won a split decision over Modesto’s Gabriel Solorio to move to 7-0. Solorio fell to 12-8.
Mark Billingsley covers MMA for The Bee. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @editorwriter001.