Eddie Sanchez (7-1) and Soa Palalei (8-1) will meet in a heavyweight bout at UFC 79: "Nemesis" on December 29, rounding out the blockbuster nine-fight New Year's Eve weekend pay-per-view (PPV) event.
This latest announcement has been confirmed via MMAWeekly.com. Reports of the match up surfaced in October with word that Palalei had inked a three-fight deal with Zuffa.
Sanchez is looking to string together back-to-back wins inside the Octagon for the first time in his career. He knocked out Mario Neto in his UFC debut in September 2006; however, he suffered a setback (or shell shock?) his next time out against Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 67: "All or Nothing."
The North County Fight Club-trained fighter weathered an early storm in his most recent bout against Colin Robinson at UFC 72: "Victory" in June, rebounding from a tough first round en route to a second round technical knockout stoppage.
Palalei is from Australia and currently trains with Dan Henderson at Team Quest. "The Hulk" competed in the PRIDE FC organization back in 2004, losing to Mu Bae Choi via submission (rear naked choke) in round two. Since that bout he has just one professional fight to his credit -- a knockout of Shaun Vanof during a King of The Cage (KOTC) event last month.
Don't be fooled by the relative inactivity ... there is still quite a buzz with the return of Palalei now that he is with a new camp that can equip him with the right tools to exceed his potential. For some video footage and background on Palalei click here.
Here is the complete UFC 79 fight card:
UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra (9-4) vs. Matt Hughes (41-5)
Chuck Liddell (20-5) vs. Wanderlei Silva (31-7-1)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (4-1) vs. Lyoto Machida (11-0)
Rich Clementi (28-12-1) vs. Melvin Guillard (20-6-2)*
Manny Gamburyan (5-2) vs. Nate Mohr (8-4)*
Dean Lister (9-5) vs. Jordan Radev (11-2)*
Roan Carneiro (11-6) vs. Tony DeSouza (10-3)*
Eddie Sanchez (7-1) vs. Soa Palalei (8-1)*
Doug Evans (5-1) vs. Mark Bocek (4-1)*
* = unofficial
For more on UFC 79, which takes place at The Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, hit up the archive right here.