Heavyweights Jared Rosholt and Soa Palelei went the distance in the co-main event, with Rosholt dominating the hometown favourite Palelei with his significant wrestling advantage. Palelei started off aggressive, getting a couple of surprising takedowns but doing little with them, and Rosholt soon took over with effective clinch work and trips.
Soa Palelei was able to get the mount at the end of the first round and unloaded with the signature ‘Hulk smash’ hammer fists, but it was too little too late. The round ended, with Rosholt getting the better, and Palelei had no success after that point. Rosholt went on to win the next two and cruised to a unanimous 30-27 judges’ call, with multiple takedowns and short strikes.
Though Rosholt was unable to finish his opponent, the fact that he was able to halt the three fight UFC winning streak and 11 fight overall winning streak is very impressive. A big underdog, Rosholt now takes his Octagon record to 3-0, and overall record is now a stellar 12-1. Expect to see Rosholt in the rankings upon the next update.
Here is how the fight went down.
Both fighters are unbeaten in their current UFC stints (Palelei lost his debut way back when). Both on big streaks and are looking to continue them here.
Round 1 - Rosholt with a big left. Wow, Palelei got the takedown. Who saw that coming? And again. Palelei simply ragdolling him. But Rosholt doing a great job of working his way back up straight away. That is the sort of thing that will tire The Hulk. Rosholt is a talented wrestler and showed it there, springing right back up. Rosholt going for the takedown now, and has Palelei down to a knee. The back now from the clinch. Smothering attack from Big Show. Palelei works his way up but gives up double underhooks. He’s trying to land some short shots but Rosholt unaffected. Percival warning that he will separate. Palelei looking for the takedown but easy sprawl from Rosholt, who takes the back. He has the arm triangle now. Palelei turns away and gives up his back. Short shots from Rosholt. Face crank momentarily. Rosholt is outworking the Aussie, and really making him tired. It’s not pretty but it’s effective. Short shots. Wow Palelei works his way on top somehow! He has the clinch and does the Hulk smash. He hurt Rosholt there at the end of the round. That’s the position you don’t want Soa to have. Interesting round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Rosholt.
Round 2 - Rosholt trying to work his boxing, and gets the clinch. Big uppercuts! He drops Palelei! He has him hurt here! Body shots and short head shots. Palelei was rocked there but seems to have his wits about him. He has Rosholt on top of him from the back now though. And Palelei is back up. Still has Rosholt with double underhooks, but much better position now. Rosholt is just overwhelming Palelei, who has little to offer from these clinch positions. The crowd may boo but Rosholt knows exactly what he’s doing. Another warning from Steve Percival. Overhand right from Rosholt. Palelei trying to get on top but Rosholt has the front head lock, and works his way to the back. Short shots. Palelei escapes, but he’s exhausted. He misses the overhand right. Rosholt with a short left hook. Palelei goes for an overhand right but easily avoided and Rosholt gets him in the clinch once again. Nice elbow there from Rosholt. Another big round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Rosholt (20-18 Rosholt).
Round 3 - Palelei may go to the judges for the first time, and he needs a finish if he wants to get another UFC win. Overhand right by Rosholt and another takedown, well set up there. Back control. This is bad for Palelei. The wrestling has been too much for the Aussie. Side control now. Rosholt should aim for a finish if he wants to really impress, but beating Palelei in front of the New Zealand fans is impressive enough. Crucifix now from Rosholt from side control and he’s unloading. Palelei explodes and gets into the sprawl of Rosholt, trying to get the takedown but unable to. Rosholt turns to his back once again, and lands more short shots. Palelei turns into side control once more, with Rosholt simply outworking him. Half the round remaining and Palelei needs to do something big. Back once again. Knees to the body from Rosholt. He’s trying to drag him to the ground but Palelei is resisting, but still eating short shots and unable to work his way up. Rosholt into side control now with 90 seconds left in this crucial round. More of the same for the next minute, just Rosholt controlling Palelei and overwhelming him. Smothering. Horrible mouse under the eye of Palelei.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Rosholt (30-27 Rosholt).
Result: Rosholt via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
Big upset there, Palelei has looked great since returning to the UFC but Rosholt’s wrestling base was too much for him. A decision, but still impressive nonetheless.
Here are the results for the card thus far. The full play-by-play coverage can be checked out on Cage Pages here.
Jared Rosholt def. Soa Palelei via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
Charles Oliveira def. Hatsu Hioki via submission (modified guillotine choke) at 4:32 in second round.
Robert Whittaker def. Mike Rhodes via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
Jake Matthews def. Dashon Johnson via submission (triangle choke) at 3:16 in third round.
Richie Vaculik def. Roldan Sangcha-an via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2).
Vik Grujic def. Chris Indich via TKO (punches) at 4:55 in third round.
Neil Magny def. Rodrigo de Lima via TKO (punches) at 2:32 in second round.
Dan Hooker def. Ian Entwistle via TKO (elbows) at 3:34 in first round.
Gian Villante def. Sean O’Connell via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).