Soa Palelei (born 12 July 1977) is an Australian retired mixed martial artist. A professional from 2002 until 2015, he most notably competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and PRIDE Fighting Championships.

Soa Palelei
Soa 'The Hulk' Palelei.jpg
Born (1977-07-12) 12 July 1977 (age 44)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Other namesThe Hulk
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[1]
Weight264 lb (120 kg; 18.9 st)
Super Heavyweight
Reach81.0 in (206 cm)[2]
StyleWrestling, BJJ, Kickboxing
Fighting out ofPerth, Western Australia, Australia
TeamTeam Hulk
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu[3]
Years active2002–2015 (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout18
By submission4
By knockout3
By submission1
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog


Born in 1977, Newcastle, New South Wales, of Tongan descent, Palelei started his fighting career at an early age. Wrestling was his first choice in the earlier years and nearly saw him compete for Australia at the Olympics in Sydney. Palelei's interest quickly grew in the arena of martial arts and from there his love of the mixed martial arts grew.

Personal lifeEdit

Palelei says he cannot recall ever getting into street scraps as a kid, and, remarkably, does not like confrontation out of the ring. His sporting prowess started with basketball, then moved to rugby, while he also trained in freestyle and Greco wrestling, followed by Brazilian jiu-jitsu. His father took him to get his first tattoo at 15, a rite of passage that would be repeated through milestones in his life, the patterns portraying significant Tongan symbols.

Coming from a school of hard knocks helped to prepare Palelei for the fight arena. His parents had exposed him to the tough plantation life in Tonga as a young child. Then he was sent to live with an uncle in NSW where he was given regular beatings. Having gone through this has made Palelei want to be able to give back and use his platform to do so, Palelei has a mentoring program called Hulk Kids MMA in which he mentors teens on every aspect of life, combined with training and diet tips this program is available for schools and community groups.

Palelei was signed to Penguin Books and is in the midst of writing a memoir about his childhood how he came up from nothing to being in the world's largest MMA organisation the UFC, his book was released in June 2016 and can be purchased at, this will be the first of other books to come.

Rock Machine Motorcycle ClubEdit

In late 2009, Palelei was accused of being associated or even a member of the notorious Canadian outlaw motorcycle club, Rock Machine which has chapters in Australia. Palelei adamantly denies these claims, stating that he was involved in teaching mixed martial arts to two individuals who may be members of the club.[4]

Acting careerEdit

Palelei is currently signed to Clifford Wallace Plus, Palelei made his acting debut in the 2014 Australian film, Son of a Gun, playing the role of a henchmen Tommy alongside Ewan McGregor, Matthew Nable and Brenton Thwaites. Since then Palelei has played the lead in Zombie Ninjas Vs Black Ops which is due to be released in 2015, and Football Breakers an Australian Comedy. In 2017 Palelei appeared alongside Matthew Nable, Ryan Corr, Abbey Leigh, Eddie Baroo and Simone Kessell in 1%.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Palelei made his professional MMA debut in September 2002. He was undefeated for the first two years of his career, going 7–0 with all wins either by TKO or submission. He suffered his first defeat via submission to Choi Mu-Bae at PRIDE 28 in October 2004.

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit

Palelei had a brief stint in the UFC at UFC 79 against Eddie Sanchez, losing by TKO in the third round. He was released from the promotion shortly after.


He was at one stage linked a fight at ONE FC – Pride of a Nation against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski, however ONE FC officials pulled him from the fight as he refused to sign a five-fight exclusive contract with ONE Fighting Championship. He was replaced by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia.[5]

After his release from the UFC in 2007, Palelei went 10–1 including wins over UFC veterans Brad Morris and Sean McCorkle.[6] He defeated McCorkle in the main event at Australian Fighting Championship (AFC) 4 via technical knock-out in round one[7] and defended his AFC heavyweight title he won at AFC 3.

Return to UFCEdit

In March 2013, Palelei signed a multi fight deal with the UFC.[8]

Palelei was expected to face Stipe Miocic on 15 June 2013 at UFC 161 until Miocic was reassigned to fight Roy Nelson as a replacement on the main card and Palelei was pulled from the event.[9]

Palelei faced UFC newcomer Nikita Krylov at UFC 164. He won the fight via third-round TKO in a lackluster fight which saw both fighters exhausted after the first round. It was later revealed that Palelei suffered a fractured rib during the week before the fight.[10]

Palelei next faced Pat Barry at UFC Fight Night 33 on 7 December 2013.[11] He won the fight via knockout in the first round, after achieving full mount position and landing a barrage of punches.

Palelei faced promotional newcomer Ruan Potts on 10 May 2014 at UFC Fight Night 40.[12] He won the fight via knockout, again from a full mount, in the first round.

Palelei faced Jared Rosholt on 28 June 2014 at UFC Fight Night 43.[13] Palelei lost the fight via unanimous decision.[14]

Palelei was expected to face Daniel Omielańczuk on 8 November 2014 at UFC Fight Night 55.[15] However, Omielańczuk was forced to pull out of bout with a broken thumb and was replaced by Walt Harris.[16] He won the fight by TKO in the second round.

Palelei faced Antônio Silva on 1 August 2015 at UFC 190.[17] He lost the fight by TKO in the second round.[18][19] In turn, Palelei announced his retirement from MMA on 19 October 2015.[20]


  • Australian Fighting Championship (AFC) World Heavy Weight Champion
  • K-OZ Entertainment World Super Heavy Weight Champion
  • IKBF Super Heavy Weight World Champion
  • Australian Heavy Weight Mixed Martial Arts Champion
  • Australian Heavy Weight Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • W.A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Heavy Weight Champion
  • W.A Freestyle Wrestling Champion at 120 kg
  • W.A MMA Heavy Weight Champion
  • Australian Freestyle Wrestling Champion at 120 kg
  • ADCC Australian Heavy Weight Submission Champion
  • South Pacific MMA Heavy Weight Champion

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
27 matches 22 wins 5 losses
By knockout 18 3
By submission 4 1
By decision 0 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 22–5 Antônio Silva TKO (punches) UFC 190 1 August 2015 2 0:41 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Win 22–4 Walt Harris TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Bisping 8 November 2014 2 4:49 Sydney, Australia
Loss 21–4 Jared Rosholt Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Te Huna vs. Marquardt 28 June 2014 3 5:00 Auckland, New Zealand
Win 21–3 Ruan Potts KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Brown vs. Silva 10 May 2014 1 2:20 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Win 20–3 Pat Barry KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Bigfoot 7 December 2013 1 2:09 Brisbane, Australia
Win 19–3 Nikita Krylov TKO (punches) UFC 164 31 August 2013 3 1:34 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
Win 18–3 Sean McCorkle TKO (punches) Australian Fighting Championship 4 7 December 2012 1 1:45 Melbourne, Australia Defended the AFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 17–3 Bob Sapp TKO (punches) Cage Fighting Championship 21 18 May 2012 1 0:12 Sydney, Australia
Win 16–3 Joe Kielur TKO (punches) Australian Fighting Championship 3 14 April 2012 1 1:14 Melbourne, Australia Won the AFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win 15–3 Shunske Inoue TKO (punches) Cage Fighting Championship 20 24 February 2012 2 4:08 Gold Coast, Australia
Win 14–3 Henry Miller TKO (punches) K-Oz Entertainment: Bragging Rights 21 January 2012 1 1:26 Perth, Australia Won the K-Oz Entertainment Super Heavyweight Championship.
Win 13–3 Matt Walker KO (punch) Cage Fighting Championship 19 9 December 2011 1 0:16 Sydney, Australia
Win 12–3 Son Hai Suk TKO (punches) Australian Fighting Championship 2 3 September 2011 1 0:28 Melbourne, Australia
Win 11–3 Yusuke Kawaguchi TKO (punches) Australian Fighting Championship 1 25 June 2011 1 N/A Melbourne, Australia
Loss 10–3 Daniel Cormier TKO (submission to punches) Xtreme MMA 3 5 November 2010 1 2:23 Sydney, Australia For the XMMA Heavyweight Championship.
Win 10–2 Brad Morris Submission (Americana) Impact FC 2 18 July 2010 1 4:20 Sydney, Australia
Win 9–2 Leamy Tato Submission (armbar) XFC: Return of the Hulk 14 March 2009 1 0:56 Perth, Australia
Loss 8–2 Eddie Sanchez TKO (punches) UFC 79 29 December 2007 3 3:24 Paradise, Nevada, United States
Win 8–1 Shaun Vanof KO (punch) KOTC: Perth 5 October 2007 1 0:05 Perth, Australia
Loss 7–1 Choi Mu-Bae Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 28 31 October 2004 2 4:55 Saitama, Japan
Win 7–0 Vince Lucero TKO (punches) Shooto Australia – NHB 20 May 2004 1 N/A Melbourne, Australia
Win 6–0 Lance Cartwright TKO (injury) XFC 4 – Australia vs The World 19 March 2004 1 0:38 Queensland, Australia
Win 5–0 Christian Wellisch TKO (punches) Shooto Australia – NHB 12 February 2004 2 4:33 Melbourne, Australia
Win 4–0 Don Richards TKO (submission to punches) Shooto Australia – NHB 13 November 2003 1 N/A Melbourne, Australia
Win 3–0 Edwin Montevgini Submission (armbar) After Dark Fight Night 3 1 August 2003 2 1:15 Australia
Win 2–0 Gerald Burton-Batty TKO (punches) Thunderdome 21 February 2003 1 0:49 Perth, Australia
Win 1–0 Brad Morris TKO (doctor stoppage) Xtreme Fight Night 27 September 2002 4 3:00 Australia

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Fight Card – UFC 190 Rousey vs. Correia". Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Fight Card – UFC Fight Night Brown vs. Silva". Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  3. ^ "Soa Palelei – Official UFC Fighter Profile". Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Fighter denies bikie link". 6 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Asian MMA: Soa Palelei Out, Andre Arlovski Vs. Tim Sylvia 4 Booked For ONE FC 5". 3 August 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Tom Ngo (4 March 2013). "Soa 'The Hulk' Palelei Signs Four-Fight Contract with UFC".
  9. ^ Johnston, Mike (22 May 2013). "Nelson vs. Miocic added to UFC 161 in Winnipeg". SportsNet. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  10. ^ Steven Marrocco (31 August 2013). "UFC 164 results and photos: Tired Soa Palelei stops exhausted Nikita Krylov". Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  11. ^ Dave Reid (14 September 2013). "Pat Barry & Soa Palelei Set To Square Off at UFC Fight Night 33". Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  12. ^ Liam Ducey (20 February 2014). "Soa Palelei to face Ruan Potts at UFC Cincinnati". Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  13. ^ Staff (13 May 2014). "Soa Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt added to UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand". Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  14. ^ Staff (28 June 2014). "UFC Fight Night 43 results: Jared Rosholt dominates Soa Palelei for decision win". Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  15. ^ Staff (11 September 2014). "Soa "The Hulk" Palelei vs Daniel Omielańczuk announced for Fight Night in Sydney". Archived from the original on 17 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  16. ^ Neil Rooke (19 October 2014). "Walt Harris Replaces Daniel Omielanczuk, Faces Soa Palelei at UFC Fight Night 55 in Sydney".
  17. ^ Liam Croy (25 April 2015). "Soa 'the Hulk' in battle of the giants". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  18. ^ Ben Fowlkes (1 August 2015). "UFC 190 results: 'Bigfoot' Silva blasts past Soa Palelei with second-round TKO". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  19. ^ Matt Boone (19 October 2015). "17 Additional Fighters Released From UFC". Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  20. ^ Dann Stupp (19 October 2015). "UFC heavyweight Soa Palelei announces MMA retirement". Retrieved 19 October 2015.

External linksEdit