I am still wondering how Garry Tonon will get his giant brass balls through customs in England. The two-time EBI champion could have chosen to take on somebody his own size and put on a spectacular show at Polaris 3. With his growing popularity in the BJJ community, he had the leverage to pick and choose his opponents, much like Conor McGregor has done in avoiding Frankie Edgar at all costs. Instead, the Tom DeBlass black belt has chosen one of the most difficult task by facing Rousimar Palhares, a much larger, scarier, and unhinged opponent, who most wouldn’t dare face in the training room or under the spotlight of the most highly anticipated grappling super fight in 2016.
There is a good reason to avoid Rousimar Palhares. The former WSOF welterweight champion has 20 to 25 lbs on Tonon. While some fighters get into their opponents’ heads through trash talking, Palhares has thrived on the fear of not letting go of a fully cinched submission and tearing all of the ligaments in an opponent’s joints. The fear is real since he has done it numerous times and continued to do so despite numerous suspensions and getting canned by the UFC. Even after getting fired for holding onto leg locks too long on Tomasz Drwal and Mike Pierce, Palhares still didn’t learn his lesson in WSOF as he held onto submissions after John Fitch and Jake Shields already submitted. Additionally, he continually dug his fingers into the eyes of Shields during their title fight.
Tonon has fought larger and more experienced opponents before including Cyborg Abreu and Buchecha, but Palhares is a different animal. Abreu and Buchecha are martial artists and competitors who have repeatedly shown a high level of respect for the sport and their competitors. Palhares has proven time after time, he is neither a bearer of goodwill and sportsmanship or somebody that gives a damn about his opponent’s health and well-being. Mike Pierce lost two years of his career to Palhares’s callous actions. Jake Shields almost lost his eyesight and livelihood to Palhares’s dirty antics.
Again, Tonon didn’t need to take the match against Rousimar Palhares at Polaris 3, but did so anyway. He could have taken the easier route, like most of us do in life. He didn’t have to fight a roided up meat head (Palhares was popped for elevated testosterone in 2012), who outweighs him by two weight classes and has a history of Rmaiming his opponents. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, April 2nd at Polaris 3 on PPV (free pop), Tonon should be applauded for his courage and warrior spirit. He has admitted to being nervous about the match. He should be considering Palhares’s sketchy history. People have a weird idea, that bravery means you aren’t scared. The reality is Garry is likely scared that Palhares won’t release a submission if he gets caught, but is exhibiting true bravery and courage by overcoming his fears to take on a mountain of a challenge most men wouldn’t dare to do.
On Tonon’s social media and he has quoted and posted the video below several times during his BJJ journey, which pretty much sums up his mentality going into Polaris 3. While there are many great matches on the card, Tonon vs. Palahares is the epitome of technique over size and the samurai spirit in martial arts. Tonon is just doing what he does, because that is just who he is.