UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia continues to take shape this week, as a matchup between Pat "HD" Barry and Soa "The Hulk" Palelei has been reported (via WAToday.au) for the card.
The battle should provide fireworks, as each fighter brings to the table the sort of heavy-handed striking that generates knockouts more often than not. Of their 27 collective victories, 23 of them are by way of KO or TKO.
Having lost four of his last six contests, this is a pivotal matchup for Barry's career. However, due to his exciting fighting style, huge fanbase and the nature of some of his losses, it is doubtful that his job is on the line.
When it comes to popularity in the heavyweight division, Barry could very well be king. The kickboxer holds a less-than-stellar 5-6 record inside the Octagon, but is beloved by the masses for his willingness to put on a show and his undying love for his fans.
A 2011 loss to Cheick Kongo came in a fight where HD pulverized the Frenchman to a point where Joe Rogan had already declared that the fight was over. A semi-conscious Kongo landed a well-timed punch as Barry charged forward, which earned him both a knockout victory and the greatest comeback of all time.
In the Summer of 2010, Barry faced his hero: Mirko Cro Cop. After hurting the PRIDE legend badly during the first round, Barry couldn't find it in his heart to finish off the man he worshiped. He would live to regret that decision when the Croatian rallied to score a third-round submission.
Palelei enters this fight after he scored his first UFC victory. At UFC 164, the Australian fighter earned a third-round TKO against promotional newcomer Nikita Krylov, despite entering the matchup with a broken rib. The Hulk had one other UFC appearance back at UFC 79, where he came up short against Eddie Sanchez.
UFC Fight Night 33 takes place on Saturday, December 7 from Brisbane, Queensland. Due to the time difference, the card will air in the United States on Friday, December 6. The event is headlined by another heavyweight matchup between Mark Hunt and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.