Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
Stipe Miocic will look get back in the heavyweight contender "mix," while Soa Palelei returns to the Octagon after a four-year hiatus to prove that he belongs with the top dogs at UFC 161 this summer.
Especially for Soa Palelei (18-3), who just earned an invitation back to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) earlier this week after a winning 10 of eleven fights outside the promotion (read more on that here), with the lone blemish coming at the hands of Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion Daniel Cormier back in Nov. 2010.
"The Hulk" has been booked to battle Stipe Miocic, who most recently suffered the first loss of his professional 10-fight MMA career at UFC on Fuel TV 5, getting pounded out by Stefan Strufe in the second round of their main event clash back in Sept. 2012.
Prior to the loss, the Croatian-American -- a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, NCAA Division I wrestler at Cleveland State University and in-demand collegiate baseball prospect -- had won three straight inside the Octagon, including stoppage wins over the previously unbeaten Shane del Rosario and English upstart Philip De Fries.
Palelei, meanwhile, is coming off a technical knockout finish of UFC washout Sean McCorkle in Dec. 2012. The accomplished amateur wrestler out of Australia was one and done with Zuffa after Eddie Sanchez pounded him out at the UFC 79 pay-per-view (PPV) event way back in Dec. 2007.
UFC 161, which will take place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, on June 15, 2013, is currently without an official championship main event. However, two pivotal Light Heavyweight bouts -- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans -- are currently slated to take place on the PPV main card.
Fight card and line up subject to change, Canadians!
For the latest UFC 161 news and notes check out our complete event archive right here.