Soa Palelei (18-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will return to the UFC after signing a four-fight deal with the promotion.
The fighter’s management team on Monday announced “The Hulk” had inked a deal with the UFC, where he fought one time in 2007. The Australian is riding an eight-fight win streak – all TKO stoppages.
Palelei started his MMA career 7-0, then 8-1 with eight stoppages and earned a call from the UFC to fight Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79. But he dropped a third-round TKO. He didn’t return to action for 15 months, but when he did he went on a streak that currently has him 10-1 with the lone loss coming to unbeaten UFC contender Daniel Cormier.
All 18 of Palelei’s career victories have come by stoppage with 14 coming in the first round. He has never been to a decision.
“I’m thankful to (UFC President) Dana White and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva for giving me this opportunity to come back to the UFC to showcase my skills,” Palelei stated. “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 nearly a year ago won Australian Fighting Championship’s heavyweight title, then defended it in his most recent outing in December with a first-round TKO of UFC veteran Sean McCorkle. Prior to that, he stopped former PRIDE, Strikeforce and DREAM fighter and former NFL player Bob Sapp in the first round.
Palelei has fought at both heavyweight and super heavyweight, though for the UFC he obviously will have to be at the heavyweight division’s maximum of 266 pounds.
No fight date or opponent has been announced for the 35-year-old’s first fight back in the UFC.
Palelei was at one point linked to a ONE FC fight this past year against former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski. But when he didn’t agree to what reportedly was a long-term deal from the promotion, he was replaced by Tim Sylvia. Now that decision apparently has paid off with another shot in the UFC.
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