Fil-Am fighter Soriano in better position for UFC Fight Night

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Fil-Am fighter Soriano in better position for UFC Fight Night
Punahele Soriano defeated Dalcha Lungiambula in a previous fight.

MANILA, Philippines – While at Division III school Wartburg College, Filipino-American Punahele Soriano made a name for himself when he was named an All-American in wrestling.

As a professional mixed martial arts fighter, he’s been known as a knockout artist, with seven of his foes kissing the canvas and seeing Tweety Bird. Only two of his wins have come via submission.

On Sunday, December 3 (Manila time), Soriano (9-3-0) will open the main card of UFC Fight Night against American-German Dustin Stoltzfus (14-5-0). And Soriano is excited about this opportunity to open the main card.

“In the UFC, aside from being a champion and a top contender, the best place to be is the main event and the other is the opener of the main card because you get to set the tone for the entire evening,” said Soriano.

“My weight is under control, and I am in great shape. No excuses in my last fight (a technical knockout loss to Roman Kopylov in the second round). Physiologically, I was burned out leading into that fight. I was crying to my wife about the difficulties in what I was doing.”

“This time, I was focused on recovery, mixing up my game and not just head hunting, and being grateful for this opportunity to be in the UFC.”

Despite his wrestling background, Soriano made the conscious decision to change his game when he turned professional. 

“I wasn’t going to be a lay them down wrestler. Something in my head said that I didn’t want to be that kind of fighter.”

Despite the serious knockout power in his fists, Soriano has changed his game plan, “It is very tempting to go head hunting. The good thing is I am more technical as the fight goes on. I expend more energy just trying to put this guy out and I realized I should I just fight my fight.”

The UFC Fight Night match-up with Stoltzfus will have a different feel to it as the latter is fighting for his UFC survival after having lost four of his last five matches.

“I understand the position he is in and his back is against the wall and he will come out swinging. I do not pay attention to whether I am the favorite or underdog. I will just go out and fight. He is coming in to kill me and I will do the same.”

“I am confident that my 180-degree turn in approach will help me get this win. I enjoyed practices and training and my teammates. There was more of an element of gratitude. I am happy and lucky. I was just dreaming about being here in the UFC and that is now a reality. I will just work hard, gout and fight, and be the best I can possibly be.”

UFC Fight Night will be televised live in the Philippines on the Premier Sports Channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as the Blast TV streaming application. 

The preliminary card kicks off at 5 a.m. and the main card starts at 8 a.m.

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