| UFC Heavyweight Soa Palelei was invited onto this week’s episode of BJPenn.com RADIO. Palelei is the current owner of an eight-fight winning streak and is slated to make his return to the UFC octagon on August 31st at UFC 164 in Milwaukee. Palelei was slated to make his return against Stipe Miocic at the recent UFC 161 event in Canada but was replaced by Roy Nelson due to circumstances beyond his control. Palelei was cool enough to talk about his upcoming bout at UFC 164 and his attitude and mindset heading into his return to the octagon during his interview with Pedro and George on BJPenn.com Radio. Here are some of the highlights from that interview:
Soa “The Hulk” Palelei first spoke about how his mindset has changed from that of his first octagon appearance way back in 2007 when he dropped a loss to Eddie Sanchez. The pressure and adrenaline that can get to fighters when moving to the UFC has been well documented, but Palelei feels that he’s learned from his past and is well prepared to handle anything of that sort. Palelei explained, “I think I took a lot of things too personal when I did fight in big events. I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Palelei has a solid body of work in the MMA work, accumulating an 18-3 record over the span of his 11 year MMA career. He said that over that span he never received better advice than he did from fellow Australian fighter, Mark Hunt, when he told him, “This is the hurt game. You’re there to hurt people.” He explained that Hunt’s advice changed him as a fighter and once he realized that was what he was there to do things just started flowing more smoothly in every fight. Palelei has won eight-straight fights since 2010.
He also said that he’s learned how to compose himself rather than blow his gas tank out at the beginning of fights. Heading into this fight he explained, “It’s really important to stay calm.” He continued, “A lot of guys maybe try to rush stuff too much and they kind of gas themselves in the first round.”
Palelei has spent years trying to perfect his craft and he knows what he’s good at and what he needs to improve upon. He talked about his travels throughout his career and how he’s tried to accumulate all the best techniques of each discipline and incorporate them into his own game. Soa, who lives and trains from home in Australia, says that he’s tried to train with the best and bring it all back to his camp at home.
“I’ve ventured out and learned different things from different camps,” he said. “I’ve brought it back here and just kind of created this team around me.” Palelei continued, “I’ve gone to the best standup places, the best boxing places, the best kickboxing places.” Soa explained that, although his camp for this fight was based out of Australia, he’s been building his game across the globe throughout his entire career. He stated, “I go to the best places and train there.”
Palelei was then asked if having bad-blood between two fighters or a hatred for his opponent helps him train harder or fight better. He laughed and denied those statements, saying, “It’s a sport. It’s a business. You go out there and after you shake hands and you might go have a drink with the guy.”
The conversation then shifted toward his upcoming fight with Nikita Krylov at UFC 164. Palelei admitted that he doesn’t have a huge body of work to study from for his next opponent but still feels that there are flaws that he sees and can expose in Krylov’s game. He told BJPenn.com, “I don’t know too much about him apart from just watching a few of his fights. He’s got some good stuff so we’re working on a lot of things to try to, uh, see if we can get his weaknesses out.”
“He’s definitely not going to hit harder than Mark Hunt,” he jokingly stated.
“The Hulk” was then asked how he saw the fight playing out and what kind of game plan he wanted to impose for this fight. He replied, “I’m ground and pound. If I can get the fight to the ground I can pretty much finish it pretty quick. That’s where my bread and butter is. But it’s exciting that I can knock-people out standing up as well. My right hand is good, my left hook is good, my kicks are good, but yeah, it’s my whole game now, it’s all around.”
He was then asked to give his prediction on how the fight was going to end. Palelei, who clearly wasn’t one that liked giving an exact prediction, answered, “Maybe a knock-out or ground and pound…we don’t know.” He continued, “I’ll definitely give it my best shot and we’ll see what the outcome is.”
“I don’t see this going past the first round,” he said in closing.
Palelei, before ending the interview, stated that his keys to success in this fight and in the future was to simply, “Keep hustling.”
Soa Palelei will look for his first UFC victory on August 31st at UFC 164 in Milwaukee. We thank “The Hulk” for his time on BJPenn.com RADIO and we wish him the best of luck in his upcoming bout with Nikita Krylov.BJPenn.Com Radio, Exclusive Interviews, Jake Chastain, nikita krylov, Soa Palelei, UFC 164, ufc heavyweights