(Palelei puts a twelve-second beating on Bob Sapp at CFC 21, then visibly regrets accepting the fight in the first place.)
Way back in 2007, a towering Australian slugger by the name of Soa Palelei made his UFC debut at UFC 79: Nemesis. In what would turn out to be Palelei’s lone appearance in the organization, the Aussie engaged in a tepid, horrendously sloppy clinchfest with fellow future-castaway Eddie Sanchez. It was easily the worst fight of the night — marred by long stretches of inactivity, a pair of low blows, and an equally anticlimactic ending in which Soa basically called it quits due to some swelling around his eye — and ranked among the worst of the year.
Sanchez, having narrowly avoided being fired by virtue of winning the fight, would lose his next two fights before receiving a mercy execution from the promotion. Palelei, on the other hand, would not be given a second shot in the UFC (perhaps rightfully so) and would spend the next five years compiling a 10-1 record in the hopes that he could someday earn a chance at redemption and Zuffa glory.
Well, according to Palelei’s management team (Paradigm Sports Management), the heavyweight KO artist will finally be given that chance, as he has inked a four-fight deal with the UFC. Palelei stated the following in an official press release that was sent out yesterday:
I’m thankful to Dana White and Joe Silva for giving me this opportunity to come back to the UFC to showcase my skills. With determination, hard work and a great team, I’m happy to say that today I have signed with the UFC. I look forward to competing in the best organization in the world.
Palelei’s lone loss since leaving the UFC came by way of first round submission via punches to future Strikeforce heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in 2010. And while Soa hasn’t exactly been taking on world beaters as of late — his past two victories have come over the all-too-TKOable Bob Sapp and famed UG troll Sean McCorkle – it’s hard to claim that anyone riding an eight-fight win streak hasn’t earned another shot in the UFC. Unless that person is Jason Reinhardt, in which case you should probably just exit whatever room you are negotiating contracts in before you get crabs.
According to Fight News Australia, Palelei has drawn Croatian Stipe Miocic for his first fight back with the promotion. The two are rumored to meet at UFC 161, which goes down on June 15th in Manitoba, Canada:
A source also revealed to Fightnewsaustralia.com that Palelei is touted to appear on the UFC 161 card in June with 30 year-old Stipe Miocic (9-1, UFC 3-1) slated as an potential opponent. UFC executives have yet to formally announce the event or the fight.