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Newly-Promoted BJJ Black Belt Soa Palelei Returns Against Bob Sapp

There's a new heavyweight Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in town.

Soa "The Hulk" Palelei was promoted last week to black belt as he begins preparations for a MMA fight against Bob Sapp at Impact FC 2 on July 18 in Sydney, Australia. Palelei received his belt from David Phillips, under Pedro Sauer.

"I've been doing BJJ for almost 12 years its been a long time," Palelei said with a laugh. "It was so good getting my black belt and it's been a long time coming, but very good putting my jiu-jitsu gi on and I feel proud."

Palelei (9-2) is a staple in the Australia MMA scene and has ventured to Japan for PRIDE 28 and Las Vegas for UFC 79. The two fights for PRIDE and UFC are the only losses on his record.

Palelei, who has only fought once in the past two-and-a-half years, tells MMAFighting.com that he had "some issues with the government," but has already confirmed additional fights and expects to compete more often this year.

Palelei will fight for the first time since March 2009 when he takes on the 300-plus pound Sapp (11-6-1) next month. Sapp has been actively fight the past two years and recently snapped a three-fight losing streak in March with submission victory in a local Croatia card.

"Bob Sapp, he's the 'Beast' and I'm the 'Hulk' so it will be a good battle between us both," Palelei said. "He's a strong guy but I do have a game plan."