Soa “Hulk” Palelei may finally make his return to the Octagon at UFC 164.
UFC officials on Thursday announced that Palelei would face Ukrainian heavyweight newcomer Nikita Krylov on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee.
Palelei (18-3) has fought once before for the UFC, but was one-and-done after losing to Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79.
He has since gone 10-1 and is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak.
Palelei was originally slated to make his return against Stipe Miocic at UFC 161 on June 15 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. That bout was derailed when UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barão had to withdraw from the main event, forcing the UFC to reshuffle the card a bit.
The promotion pulled Palelei out of the bout with Miocic and inserted Roy Nelson – who was due a fight according to contractual obligations – giving the UFC 161 fight card a little more name value.
“It was a bit disappointing when that fight was cancelled. You train thinking of a certain person all day, every day,” Palelei told WAToday.com. “But I respect the UFC’s decision and I’m grateful for the opportunity I will get at UFC 164”
Palelei will now square off with Krylov (14-0), who will be making his first professional start outside of the Ukraine or Russia. Krylov has never gone to a decision in any of his 14 fights, having knocked out five of his opponents and submitted the rest.
Officials have yet to set a UFC 164 main event, but the fight card will also feature the return of Josh Barnett in another heavyweight contest, as he takes on former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir.