It was announced yesterday that Australian heavyweight Soa Palelei had re-signed with the UFC, and now he already has his first match. Palelei will be facing off with Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, which was officially announced today to take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. There is no headliner yet, but the card will feature a pair of light-heavyweight match-ups that pit Dan Henderson against Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira against Mauricio Rua.
Palelei first fought for the promotion back at UFC 79, in 2007, against Eddie Sanchez. The fight was not very entertaining, and Palelei was finished in the third round. Everyone thought he was going to be a monster since he was 8-1, with finishes in all of those fights, when the UFC signed him. Since his release, Palelei has gone 10-1 with his only loss coming to Daniel Cormier, and he finished all ten of his wins. He is currently riding an eight-fight win streak, finishing all by TKO or KO, and only one of those fights made it out of the first round.
This will be Miocic’s first fight since his loss to Stefan Struve. In fact, that was the first loss of his career. The fans will be entertained by another stand-up battle as most of Palelei’s and Miocic’s victories come by knockout. Miocic and Palelei both stand at 6’4″, but Palelei will have a big size advantage since he has weighed in at around 290, and Miocic generally weighs in at 240. It remains to be seen who will be better on the ground since Miocic was a Division 1 wrestler, but Palelei almost represented Australia in the Olympics for wrestling and has a BJJ black belt.