Soa Palelei Primed for UFC 164, His Second Opportunity in the Spotlight

August 31, 2013
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Soa Palalei, Photo by Louie Abigail.It’s been a long road back to the Octagon for Australian heavyweight Soa “The Hulk” Palelei, but now he’s where he wants to stay.

The 36-year-old will make his promotional return at UFC 164 on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.

Palelei had a three-fight deal with the UFC back in 2007, but it didn’t go according to plan and he was cut after losing his debut fight to Eddie Sanchez. The Perth based fighter had to fly back to Australia in the final stages of his preparation when his son became ill and admits his entrance to the big show was premature.

“I went into the UFC prematurely and there were a lot of other factors that went into it as well,” Palelei told MMAWeekly.com. “I had a three-fight deal with the UFC, but when I lost I was told to get a couple more fights and then to come back.”

The Hulk has since gone 10-1 with his only loss being to Daniel Cormier. He has built his name on the local based CFC shows in Australia.

He was due to fight Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 in Winnipeg, but was removed from the card after Miocic was promoted to take on Roy Nelson. He is now slated to face the relatively unknown Ukrainian Nikita Krylov, who will become the youngest current UFC fighter at just 21 years of age.

“Once I got back from Winnipeg, I was straight back into training,” Palelei continued. “All I had to do was tone it down a bit. I actually think it was helpful in a way because I had to cut weight for Winnipeg as I was there as an alternate, so with this fight the weight cut was easy.

“I know that (Krylov) is in the UFC for a reason, so I’m definitely not taking him lightly. I don’t think that his age makes any difference, and for me it’s another fight that I have to work hard on,” he told TheMMACorner. “I’m really excited to jump back in there, do my thing and show the world what I can really do.”

(Photo by Louie Abigail / Follow @AndrewMMA_ on Twitter)

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  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    I hope this guy has a better second run. I really think he’s talented. That fight with Eddie Sanchez didn’t go so well but he’s had a lot of fights since.

    • deepgrim

      i have saw a few of his fights in australia and he looks like a beast, competition not as good but you can only beat what is in front of you and he did it well

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        I like fans like you. A lot of people wouldn’t care about who he fought outside of the UFC but you stated it best “You can only beat what is in front of you”. Great fight with him tonight. As weird as it sounds it was nice to know he had an injury and wasn’t just out of shape some. Please follow me on facebook and twitter.

        • deepgrim

          dont do all that following on social media mate, yeah was good to hear that the ribs were affecting him, his cardio probs needs a bit of work tho as he was finishing in the first round constantly. still the talent is well there good striking and wrestling. hopefully see him again soon

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            Palelei and Mark Hunt? What do you think of that fight? Could it happen, because I’m not sure if they train together or anything.

          • deepgrim

            pretty sure they train together, soa was saying in a few pre fight interviews that the oppenient wouldnt hit harder than mark hunt. would like to see hunt against another top 10 possibly travis brown. for soa possibly gabriel gonzaga.

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            Soa and Gonazga sounds like a nice match up. What would you think of Hunt and Frank Mir?

          • deepgrim

            i see gonzaga has a fight coming up so that aint happing. ya mir and hunt could be interesting striker v grappler and mir does like to do a bit of kick boxing too. mir has just been ragged dolled the last 2 fights tho. word is now they have hunt lined up against big foot. if hunt can keep the fight standing it could be a cracker

          • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

            I like Mark Hunt but I did count him out big time again Kongo. He needs to make some changes though. I don’t see him hanging in their with Daniel Cormier or Nelson.

  • shakejunt

    reminiscint of hunt-rothwell, but awesome first 2 minutes