Rousimar Palhares, commonly known as Toquinho, is a Brazilian professional mixed martial artist (MMA). Rousimar, who fights for Team Nogueira, is well-known for his submission skills. He has fought in 28 contests in his career, winning 19 of them. The majority of his victories have come as a result of his incredible submission and grappling abilities. He is well-known for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, GJJ, and Luta Livre styles, and he is one of the few individuals in the mixed martial arts fraternity capable of intimidating opponents even before the start of their respective bouts.
He has competed in the middleweight and light heavyweight weight classes, and he currently competes in the welterweight division. Palhares has always exhibited aggressive and seemingly irresponsible behavior in the ring and is well-known for his longer-than-required submission holds. This spiteful demeanor has gotten him into trouble, and he was once suspended from MMA for 90 days following his unsportsmanlike battle against Tomas Drawl.
Childhood and Early Life
Palhares was born on February 20, 1980 in Dores do Indaiá, Minas Gerais, Brazil as Rousimar Christian Palhares.He was born into a poor household and had to labor on local farms from an early age.
Palhares was raised alongside his nine siblings. His family made ends meet by working on a plantation. On a few unlucky days, they’d be forced to eat animal feed.
Palhares began watching mixed martial arts matches while he was in his mid-teens. Inspired by the accomplishments and power of MMA fighters, he decided to become a fighter and began his training. Iran Brasileiro, a black belt from the Pantera Negra gym, coached and trained him.
Soon after beginning his training, Palhares began participating in a few small performances hosted by the Pantera Negra gym. This strengthened his confidence, and he began to believe that he could compete on larger platforms, but, in order to do so, he needed to leave his home and find a professional guide. Putting his faith in his intuition, he borrowed $170 from his brother and flew to Rio de Janeiro to chase his ambition of making it big in MMA.
Palhares trained at BTT, Brazil’s most well-known MMA academy. Because he didn’t have much money, he had to sleep at bus stops and under bridges. When the owners of BTT, Murilo Bustamante and Bebeo Duarte, learned about this, they provided Palhares with food and shelter.
This was the watershed moment in his life. During his early days of training, he attracted the attention of team owners and other top MMA fighters. It helped him a lot to get help from his fellow fighters. He quickly learned the BJJ style and earned a Purple Belt.
Palhares was now participating all throughout Brazil and winning numerous tournaments. He paid off his brother’s loan with the award money. He also helped with his family’s domestic costs. After creating a name for himself in the BJJ discipline, he went on to become a full-fledged MMA fighter.
Palhares commanded over grappling and submission skills after months of arduous training sessions. Following that, his coaches told him that competing in the ADCC, the world’s most prestigious submission and the grappling event would help him with the UFC. Palhares gained attention after winning the Brazilian trials versus World Black Belt Champion Romulo Barral in 2005. The fact that he won with a submission move impressed the critics. Unfortunately, he was unable to compete in the finals since his visa was rejected.
Palhares obtained his Black Belt in jiu-jitsu at the end of 2007. He was now prepared to compete at the international level.
Palhares competed in his first overseas bout at UFC 84, which took place in the United States in 2008. But he was defeated by Dan Henderson, the lightweight and welterweight champion. The organizers invited him to the ADCC finals in Barcelona, Spain, in 2009; he was unable to attend due to a bone fracture suffered while training.
The next year, he defeated Jeremy Horn to make up for his first UFC loss. On December 12, 2009, he won another UFC fight against Lucio Linhares.
In 2010, Palhares was suspended for 90 days for holding on to a submission lock on his opponent, Tomas Drawl, for too long. In the post-match interview, he stated that he did not hear his opponent and instead waited for the referee to intervene. He also apologized for his behavior.
Palhares was asked to compete in the world’s largest grappling event once more in 2011. This time, he not only made it to the event but also competed at the highest level.
Palhares competed brilliantly in the less than 88 kg weight division, knocking out his first three opponents handily. He came in second place after displaying incredible leg lock skills. He lost the championship to experienced MMA fighter Andre Galvao, who won both the middleweight and open weight classes.
Palhares lost his UFC FX 6 bout against Hector Lombard on December 15, 2012. As a result of this defeat, Palhares was forced to drop a weight class to welterweight. On October 9, 2013, he knocked out Mike Pierce in the welterweight division at UFC Fight Night 29.
Palhares competed in his debut World Series of Fighting (WSOF) match on March 29, 2014, at WSOF 9. He battled and defeated Welterweight Champion Steve Carl. This time, he used his inverted heel technique to put Steve out.
The No-Gi match between Palhares and Garry Tonon in 2016 was officially deemed a draw. Many Garry Tonon supporters were outraged by the decision because the game appeared to be one-sided. Palhares appeared to be on his way to a simple victory as he tossed the much smaller Tonon around. Tonon, on the other hand, proved to be a surprise package, as he rebounded back and counter-attacked to make the match intense and riveting.
Palhares was suspended from the UFC following the World Series of Fighting 22 event in 2013 after repeating the same error. This time, he refused to release his opponent, Mike Pierce, from a submission hold even after the referee intervened.
The main event of WSOF 22 between Palhares and Jake Shields is one of the most contentious matches in Palhares’ career. He was punished for continuously poking Shields’ eyes and for maintaining the submission lock even after referee Steve Mazzagatti intervened. Jake Shields did tap a few times, but that simply prompted Palhares to apply more pressure. He was charged with foul play during his welterweight title battle against Jake Shields.
Palhares was suspended for nine months following his UFC fight against Lombard after testing positive on a drug test.
Palhares has won the WSOF welterweight belt once and the UFC Submission of the Night challenge twice.