It has been announced by World Series of Fighting officials that undefeated lightweight champion Justin Gaethje (13-0) will defend his title against Luis “Baboon” Palomino (23-9) at the WSOF 19 event, March 28, Comerica Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz.
Arizona native Gaethje, 26, made his WSOF debut in March 2013, scoring a first round TKO on Gesias Cavalcante, before moving on to defeat Brian Cobb, Dan Lauzon and Richard Patishnock.
His two most recent fights have earned him acclaim from the MMA community, defeating Nick Newell bt TKO to win the lightweight belt in July, and a split decision over Melvin Guillard back in November.
34-year-old Palmino owns KO victories over Jorge Patino and Lewis Gonzalez in the WSOF decagon, but will have his hands full against Gaethje who is largely considred the best lightweight outside of the UFC roster at present.
The event also hosts a four-man elimination light-heavyweight title tournament. The first bracket will see Ronny Makres (15-3) and Thiago Silva (!6-3) face off. MMA veteran Matt “The Hammer” Hamill (11-5) has been announced in the second bracket, with his opponent to be named on February 12 at WSOF 18: Moraes vs.
Brazilian Markes fights out of the regarded Nova Uniao, and fought a large portion of his career at middleweight before moving up to 205. He scored a domination decision over Cully Butterfield in his WSOF debut.
Silva, originally from Sao Carlos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, now fighting out of Oakland Park, Fla., has been fighting professionally for nearly a decade. The 32-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will mark his first start since earning a unanimous decision over Hamill on Oct. 9, 2013 due to legal and personal issues. Potentially setting up a tasty fight in the tournament final between the former UFC fighters.
Additional bouts for WSOF 19: Gaethje vs. Palomino will be announced soon.