Australian-born Palelei came into the bout having won his last nine mixed martial arts (MMA) fights. "Hulk" returned to the Octagon at August's UFC 164 by defeating Nikita Krylov via technical knockout. It wasn't the most impressive of performances, however, leaving Palelei with the responsibility of proving he belongs in UFC.
Barry needed a win to right the ship after being knocked out in under a minute by Shawn Jordan at UFC 161. Despite being one of the most powerful strikers in MMA, Barry's chin had become a liability. It betrayed him once more at UFC Fight Night 33, marking two straight first-round losses for "Hype or Die."
Let's take a look back at Palelei's big win in front of his hometown fans.
Palelei looked to avoid Barry's vaunted kickboxing by pushing him up against the cage early on. Barry separated to throw a big kick that missed. Palelei fought back by taking Barry down. "Hype or Die" went for a kimura that Palelei escaped. Palelei then mounted Barry and rained down with an unstoppable torrent of ground-and-pound that soon put Barry out cold.
Palelei made a huge statement by making incredibly short work of an experienced Octagon veteran in Barry. He's now won 10 fights in a row and has a ton of momentum on his side. "Hulk" is knocking on the door of his very own spot in the top 10.
Unfortunately for Palelei, most of the top heavyweights are currently booked to fight. One bout that could make sense for "Hulk" is a match against number 10-ranked Roy Nelson. Both fighters have big power and good ground games so it would be interesting to see who could land the biggest shot first.
Palelei appears to have a well-rounded game that could sneak up on a lot of competition at 265 pounds. His wrestling is dangerous and his power can end any fight in an instant. Palelei could quickly become a dark horse contender if given the right opportunities to shine.
For Barry, the loss is a huge setback. He has proven to be wildly inconsistent inside the Octagon and has now dropped three out of his last four bouts. And while striking power may be his greatest strength, it's also his biggest weakness. Barry's chin has been failing him in recent years and he most likely won't be around to take too many more knockouts in the Octagon.
There's just not much left for him to look forward to after falling so far down the totem pole. It's unfortunate because Barry is one of the most entertaining fighters in and out of the cage. He'll most likely get another chance to put on a show, but his days in UFC could definitely be numbered.
Soa Palelei made short work of talented kickboxer Pat Barry in the first round at UFC Fight Night 33. Does the win announce "Hulk" as a true force to be reckoned with at heavyweight? Or has Barry just become that easy to defeat?