Powerful Australian Soa Palelei will be looking to continue his rise within the heavyweight division this weekend at UFC Fight Night 43 in Auckland, New Zealand. He faces a tough challenge in the form of standout wrestler Jared Rosholt. Both fighters have been able to raise their stocks within a relatively thin division by producing current win streaks, although Palelei’s victories have come in far more destructive fashion.
“The Hulk” currently occupies the No.14 spot in the organization and is making a quick turnaround for this close-to-home co-main event opportunity. Palelei blasted out Ruan Potts in rapid and violent fashion in May at Fight Night 40 to secure his third straight Octagon triumph. The 36-year-old has made the most of his second UFC tenure by also stopping Nikita Krylov and Pat Barry. He’s reeled off 11 consecutive knockout finishes.
Palelei will find himself on the verge of entering the top-10 rankings if he can continue his explosive ways. He has a 21-3 career record, and remarkably, all of his wins have been by either knockout or submission. Palelei is a very powerful fighter who has showcased a brutal ground-and-pound game. His last loss came back in 2010 at the hands of Daniel Cormier.
Rosholt would be wise to try and rely on his impressive wrestling background in the hopes of trying to wear down his dangerous opponent. The 27-year-old Rosholt has gone 2-0 in his UFC career by earning decision wins over Walt Harris and Daniel Omielanczuk.
He’s been victorious in his last six fights since suffering a knockout loss in the Legacy FC promotion against Derrick Lewis. It remains Rosholt’s lone career blemish. “The Big Show” has produced six finishes by knockout or submission in his 10 career triumphs. This will be his biggest UFC test to date.
The promotion is always looking for new talent to emerge in a heavyweight division that is currently stacked with veterans. The 36-year-old Palelei is on borrowed time to make a serious run but has been quick to emerge as an impressive force. “The Hulk” will be in line for some major future opportunities if he can produce another victory.
Meantime, Rosholt can emerge as a major player if he can halt Palelei’s surging momentum. He has the strength and power to get the job done, but will require the best effort of his Octagon career in order to be successful.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.