Australian heavyweight Soa Palelei has been putting together one of the greatest career comeback stories outside of Anthony Johnson. At one time considered to be a one-and-done UFC washout after he lost to Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79, “The Hulk” has won 11 straight fights since 2011 — all by KO/TKO — including three wins in the Octagon.
After effortlessly running through Ruan Potts at UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva last Saturday, Palelei has been quickly re-booked to fight 10-1 heavyweight up-and-comer Jared Rosholt at UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt, which takes place June 28th at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Rosholt also carries big knockout power, though he’s yet to show it off in his current UFC stint, where he’s scored decision wins over Walt Harris and Daniel Omielanczuk.
The quick seven-week turnaround might be less than ideal for Palelei, but fighting in front of a supportive Oceania crowd will more than make up for it. Unrelated fun facts (via BloodyElbow): Palelei got his first tattoo with a wooden chisel and mallet, and Mark Hunt is the only opponent he’d turn down, because “We’re training partners, and we’re like family.”
The current lineup for UFC Fight Night 43 is below…
Nate Marquardt vs. James Te Huna
Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles Oliveira
Soa Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt
Vik Grujic vs. Chris Indich
Robert Whittaker vs. Mike Rhodes
Sean O’Connell vs. Gian Villante
Jon Delos Reyes vs. Richie Vaculik