Australian heavyweight fighter Soa Palelei recently signed a four-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. At UFC 161 “The Hulk” is set to return to the octagon for the first time since UFC 79 back in December 2007, where he dropped a third round TKO loss against Eddie Sanchez. He will face American born Croatian fighter Stipe Miocic on June 15.
Since losing to Sanchez, Palelei has gone 10-1 with his only loss coming against Daniel Cormier at Xtreme MMA 3 in November 2010. He bounced back from that loss by going on an eight-fight winning streak, which included victories over Sentoryū Henri, Bobb Sapp and Sean McCorkle.
Soa spoke to Jack Bratcher and Gary Thomas Sunday night on Pro MMA Now Radio and gave his thoughts on signing with the UFC:
“It’s the best place to be at the moment, so I’m happy to be added to the roster and I thank Dana White and Joe Silva for that.”
Soa’s first fight back in the UFC will be against heavy hitter Stipe Miocic, who will be looking to bounce back from his first pro MMA defeat against heavyweight prospect Stefan Struve at UFC on FUEL TV 5 in September 2012. “The Hulk” commented:
“I don’t see this fight going past the first round or even going into the second round, because Stipe and myself, we’re both explosive fighters, so when you’ve got guys over 110 kilos throwing heavy punches someones gonna get knocked out.”
Both Palelei and Miocic are known to finish fights via TKO/KO, so it is hard to disagree with Soa’s comments. Fourteen of Palelei’s professional MMA victories have come in the first round. With powerful punches and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it will be interesting to see how far “The Hulk” can go.
UFC 161 takes place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on June 15.
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