NEW YORK CITY — Lance Palmer has switched things up heading into his 16th professional MMA fight.
The featherweight fighter did not do his training camp with Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif. leading up to his co-main event fight with Bekbulat Magomedov, which makes part of the inaugural PFL 145-pound season. This will be the first time Palmer fights without having prepared under the Team Alpha Male roof.
Heading into PFL 1, which goes down Thursday night at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the 30-year-old fighter went to Nevada to get his training done.
“I did my training camp in Las Vegas with Xtreme Couture this time and with one of my best friends, Joseph Benavidez,” Palmer told MMA Fighting. “He’s (Benavidez) been one of my good friends for about six, seven years now, so him and his wife live in Las Vegas and he trains full time there, so I was lucky enough to stay with him and I did my whole camp there together.”
Apart from training at Xtreme Couture, Palmer was also able to benefit from the UFC’s Performance Institute through his friend Benavidez, who competes in the UFC’s flyweight division.
“They (UFC PI) have a thing where one fighter has four partners they can bring in and I trained aside him (Benavidez) for every strength and conditioning, every practice we did upstairs in the PI, so it was good and I piggy backed that with the Xtreme Couture practices as well, so it was really good.”
It’s no secret that Team Alpha Male has had issues in the past with members leaving the team on bad terms – most notably with coach Duane Ludwig and UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw. However, this was not the case with Palmer.
“I’m just getting different training, I wouldn’t say that I left the team or that I broke away from the team,” Palmer explained. “I’m still very close with all those guys, I just had dinner with Cody Garbrandt last week in Vegas, and I talk to all those guys all the time.
“I just wanted to get a different look. I’ve been there for seven years and I think to evolve you have to get different looks and different training and this was a great camp for me. I had different partners, different looks, different styles, different coaching, so it was kind of refreshing for me. Team Alpha Male is always going to be my family and I owe everything to them from the beginning of my career until now.”
The former WSOF champion says he’ll go back to Team Alpha Male late in the summer to help out Garbrandt prepare for his title fight rematch with Dillashaw. He says he’s also open to help his other Team Alpha Male friends if they’re ever in need of help. However, as far as his own training camps, Palmer sees himself Las Vegas for some time.
“Joseph and I have a great relationship training and friendship wise, and guys like Forrest Griffin are always welcoming me when I go train with Joe and guys at the UFC PI,” Palmer said. “So it’s been great and everyone at Xtreme Courure has received me with open arms. It’s a welcoming environment and it’s refreshing to me, so it’s definitely something I see myself doing for a while.”
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