In sports, success is typically defined by championships, and mixed martial arts is no different. However, in most sports, once your team has been eliminated from the playoffs, their season is over and there aren’t any other opportunities to reenter and win the championship. But the sport of mixed martial arts has proven over time that nothing is ever quite so straight forward as even the best laid plans have been made. Professional Fighter’s League (PFL) featherweight Alex Gilpin is the perfect example of this.
Gilpin lost to Lance Palmer for a second time in the semifinals of the PFL’s second season but will now face him for a third time after finalist Daniel Pineda failed a drug test following the playoffs (still in appeals). When it was announced that Gilpin was replacing Pineda, there was a bit of an uproar on social media, as many thought that Jeremy Kennedy should get the opportunity as he hasn’t faced Palmer yet this season. But as Gilpin explains, the alternates were already predetermined in case of a dropout.
“Quite honestly I understand why they are saying that. This league has got criteria to it. It’s not the political fighter’s league, it’s the professional fighter’s league. And I do understand the reservation since we fought twice. But at the end of the day.”
“They go with the highest seeded semi-finalist, who ever didn’t make the finals. If Lance pulled out, I would’ve fought Pineda.”
Knowing it was possible that he could fight again, Alex Gilpin kept in shape and has been able to recover from the hard fought rounds he put in against Andre Harrison and Lance Palmer during the playoffs, which he thinks was one of the most fun nights, but challenging he has had in his career as well.
“Overall not a lot of people can say they fought twice in a night, fought two world champions in an hour. There’s a lot to gain from it.”
While he has spent thirty minutes in the cage with Palmer, Gilpin isn’t relying on what has happened in the past as he prepares for their upcoming fight. He believes that his evolution from fight to fight is his key to victory.
“The beauty of it is I know what doesn’t work, at least but there are somethings that I’ve done that were very successful against him and I keep making adjustments with every single fight. This particular fight
“To keep it simple, really expanding my arsenal on the feet, I want to be a more well rounded fighter than I show.”
After two tough losses against Palmer, many would wonder if Gilpin has a chance in their upcoming fight or if he should have confidence heading into the fight. However, because of those two fights, Gilpin says not only that he has kept his confidence but it has only grown since his previous two fights with Palmer.
“If you look at that last fight, it was a heck lot closer than the first fight. I’m not gonna sit here and say I deserved to win because I didn’t but the first two rounds were damn close and I almost finished him in the third round. I can beat him.”
With a win, Alex Gilpin would not only win a million dollars, but he would cement his name as one of the top featherweights in the world. He is currently not signed to return to the PFL but he hopes to return.
“I’d love to come back, I hope to be back.”
Gilpin vs. Palmer will take place on December 31 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. It will air on ESPN 2 at 7 PM EST.