After hugging his way to one million dollars last season, elite wrestler and PFL featherweight champion, Lance Palmer, returns to action this evening against a lesser known but entirely formidable opponent in Alex Gilpin. Here are my thoughts on the PFL #2 main event from a betting perspective.

Lance Palmer

A four-time All-American wrestler, Lance Palmer is a virtuoso when it comes to dragging fighters to the mat. In fact, he is one of a minority of elite wrestlers in MMA that can have every other disadvantage in a match-up, yet still come out victorious because of his takedowns and ground control.

His performances last season weren’t exactly thrilling, but he did what he needed to walk away with a fat stack of cash – so can we blame him? Earlier in his career, Palmer liked to mix his wrestling and his striking, but has turned into a full hugger in recent fights.

In the playoffs, Palmer faced another excellent wrestler that he’d lost to previously in Andre Harrison. In the original fight, Andre Harrison got the better of the striking exchanges – so a change of strategy was needed. A well-timed takedown in rounds two and three plus some ground control allowed Palmer to walk away with a decision victory and advance to the finals.

While Palmer is unlikely to change his approach this evening, he did bemoan his lack of finishes last season in a recent interview. He is also training under Mark Henry for this camp, so it’s possible he wants to showcase an improved striking skill set (which in my opinion, would be unwise).

Alex Gilpin

If you’ve never seen Alex Gilpin fight, the first thing you’ll notice is that his style is shockingly similar to his friend and training partner, Alex Hernandez. Both men fight with a wide stance, use lots of feints and blend their striking and wrestling effortlessly.

I love Gilpin’s unorthodox striking style and give him the advantage if the fight stays standing (Palmer is a lot more rudimentary on the feet and may struggle with the unusual movement and shot selection of Gilpin).

Unlike most of Palmer’s recent opponents, Gilpin is a good wrestler himself and is more than capable of catching you in a front choke if you leave your neck where it shouldn’t be. Gilpin’s performance on the Contender Series wasn’t one of his best, but he clearly a fantastic prospect with a well-rounded skill set.

Who Wins?

We’re looking at a great wrestler versus a good wrestler, and that might be the only thing worth mentioning about this match-up. However, paying -550 for Lance Palmer is absolutely outrageous (in my humble opinion). There are some gross mismatches on this card, and this isn’t one of them.

Gilpin doesn’t have to beat Palmer in a wrestling match, he only has to stuff Palmer’s takedowns and beat him standing. Perhaps that’s not the most likely outcome for the fight, but it’s very much within the realms of possibility.

This is an obvious underdog or pass situation. I managed to get half a unit down on Alex Gilpin at +455 this afternoon, and I still think he’s worth a stab at the current price of +400.

Pick: Alex Gilpin +400

Check out my betting predictions for UFC Stockholm.

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