Tuesday, June 18th, American middleweight prospect Punahele Soriano will be in action at Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to score a win in the main event opposite Jamie Pickett. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Soriano looks to potentially earn a UFC contract. Soriano represents Xtreme Couture, one of the most respected camps in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Headhunter: It may not always be the most technical or sound way of fighting, but Soriano’s headhunter style is something that has served him well to this point. It’s obvious that he loves to bang on the feet and get in absolute barn burners. That brawling style is exciting and effective for the tough Hawaiian. He’s extremely aggressive and throws caution to the wind when he fights, which is why he’s on the UFC’s radar. Everything he throws is with dangerous intent and his power punching is to be feared. In fact, when he smells blood in the water, he does not hesitate. All of his fights are first round finishes, mostly set up by his power striking.
Wrestling Base: Though he doesn’t use it often, Soriano does have a wrestling base, as he was a state champion caliber wrestler in his native Hawaii. If you watch his wrestling footage on YouTube, you can see how strong and athletic he was even as a high schooler. In terms of his cage fighting, he uses it primarily as defense to keep the fight on the feet. He’s got good balance. He’s also very heavy from top position when the fight is on the ground. He’s not world class as a wrestler, but he is quite solid.
Takes Damage: While we admire his headhunting and ability to come out on top of crazy brawls, Soriano’s aggression does open him up to eating shots. When you move forward, throwing caution to the wind, yes, you can land big bombs and finish guys. However, you can leave yourself open to counterstrikers and take big damage yourself. It also could lower the amount of time you can have in this sport, as you can only get your bell rung so much. Soriano may be one of the most exciting guys to watch, and hopefully he continues to be, but he should fight smarter, especially as he moves up in competition level.
UFC Fight Night Bonus Machine: The 26-year-old Hawaiian is still young in this sport, and to this point, looks to have a very bright future. If there’s one assertion I can make that is money in the bank, it’s that Soriano will be a Fight Night bonus machine. His knockouts and fights will all be in contention to score him an extra bit of money. It’s the reason why I think he will get signed right out of the Contender Series. His excitement and potential to finish his fight will have the UFC brass jumping out of their seats. He could also be a contender, but he will have to have a more patient approach when he enters the UFC at the risk of taking damage from fight to fight due to his style.