A rematch between WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje and Luis Palomino was a peculiar matchup on paper. The champion had just defeated Palomino five months prior, and it wasn’t controversial enough to warrant an immediate rematch for the challenger.
It was exciting, though, and a rematch between the two fighters who put on a potential Fight of the Year candidate made sense at the time.
But a trilogy between the two? Well, that would have been a much tougher fight to sell. Gaethje had two decisive victories over Palomino in 2015, yet the Peruvian fighter once again found himself in the conversation of title contenders. Had he won the WSOF eight-man, one-night lightweight tournament at WSOF 25, Palomino would’ve found himself serving as the title challenger once more.
Luckily for Gaethje, Palomino lost to Brian Foster in the semifinals of the tournament.
“I’m definitely glad it wasn’t Palomino,” Gaethje said to MMAFighting. “Like I always say, that dude’s tough, Palomino. I felt bad, he deserves to be in the tournament, but [after] two rough fights like that [against me], I don’t know how you could even think about putting yourself through something like this. I have so much respect to all these guys. I’m never going to blatantly disrespect any of these guys, but Foster came taking crap after he lost.
“He’s the most confident. He obviously feels like he’s ready and I need new blood. I’m glad it’s not Palomino and I’m glad it’s Foster.”
With the tournament victory, Foster has secured his title shot against the undefeated champion at some point in 2016.