Soa Palelei on UFN 33 Win Over Barry: “If I Get on Top of You You’re Not Getting me Off”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Despite the fact Soa Palelei was on a nine fight win streak, and that the only man to defeat him since 2007 is Daniel Cormier, the massive heavyweight knew he needed to score an impressive win at last night’s UFC Fight Night 33. Why? Because in a sport like MMA, what people see typically overrides what they hear, and what most fans remembered about Palelei was his winded, stoppage win over Nikita Krylov at UFC 164.
So, heading into UFC Brisbane, the 36 year-old heavyweight was looking to demonstrate why many hardcore fans were excited to see he was headed to the UFC several months back. By taking out Pat Barry in just over two minutes, Palelei did a good job of doing just that.
“That first fight against Nikita I hurt my rib the week before and popped it in the first round, and I couldn’t breathe, and it was just hard,” Palelei said at the post fight presser, while repeating the message he had relayed immediately following his win over Krylov.
“So, I went out today, and I respect Pat as an athlete and as a sportsman, he’s a really dangerous fighter,” Palelei added about Barry, who was coming off a stoppage loss to Shawn Jordan, after knocking out Shane del Rosario last December. “So I was really worried about his kicks, but I played my game, and hopefully I made a statement today.”
There’s no question the win was one of the night’s most memorable, and it also ensured that Palelei maintained his impressive finishing rate. All 20 of Palelei’s victories to date have come via stoppage or submission.
While some critics may point to Barry’s inconsistent record in the Octagon, as a means to diminish Palelei’s win, the bout’s conclusion certainly was impressive. After the fight went to the mat, Palelei worked his way into mount and finished Barry off with a brutal series of hammer punches and strikes from above.
“I’ve been doing it the last 16 years plus, I’m a first degree, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, I’ve been doing it for a long, long time, and I’m really confident,” noted Palelei, who made his pro debut over a decade ago in 2002. “If I get on top of you you’re not getting me off.”
Of the course UFC Brisbane win was also special for Palelei, since it went down in his native Australia, alongside New Zealand star Mark Hunt.
“I did a bit of my camp with Mark; I flew to New Zealand,” Palelei said while referring to Hunt, who battled Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to a majority draw in what was one of the year’s best fights. “Mark is like an idol to me; when I was growing up I’d watch his fights, overseas and in Japan and stuff, but I’m happy to get the win.”
“To be fighting in front of Australia, and to have everyone cheering you, you just feed off that.”