Tonight’s UFC Fight Night card features a middleweight bout between Punahele Soriano and Dustin Stoltzfus. This matchup is set to deliver an exciting contest at the UFC on ESPN: Dariush vs. Tsarukyan event.
Punahele Soriano enters the octagon with a professional MMA record of 9 wins and 3 losses, showcasing a notable striking power with 6 of his victories coming by knockout. Soriano, known for his aggressive fighting style, has delivered some memorable performances inside the UFC. Notably, he earned a Performance of the Night bonus with his knockout win over Dalcha Lungiambula at UFC on ABC: Ortega vs. Rodríguez in July 2022. However, his last outing resulted in a loss to Roman Kopylov via TKO in January 2023 at UFC Fight Night 217, reflecting a need for strategic adjustments. His UFC journey includes impressive victories, such as his knockout win against Oskar Piechota at UFC 245 and a TKO victory over Duško Todorović in January 2021.
Opposite Soriano stands Dustin Stoltzfus, who brings a professional record of 14 wins and 5 losses. Stoltzfus, known for his versatility, has secured victories through knockouts, submissions, and decisions, highlighting his well-rounded skill set. His most recent fight was a loss to Abus Magomedov by TKO in September 2022 at UFC Fight Night: Gane vs. Tuivasa. Prior to this, he achieved a unanimous decision victory over Dwight Grant in July 2022 at UFC on ABC: Ortega vs. Rodríguez. However, Stoltzfus has faced challenges in the UFC, with submission losses to Gerald Meerschaert and Rodolfo Vieira in 2021, and a unanimous decision loss to Kyle Daukaus in his UFC debut at UFC 255 in November 2020. These fights underscore his resilience and adaptability in the face of tough competition.
This matchup pits Soriano’s striking prowess against Stoltzfus’s well-rounded skill set. Soriano will likely look to capitalize on his knockout power, aiming to control the fight’s pace and land significant strikes. On the other hand, Stoltzfus might focus on implementing a diverse strategy, potentially leveraging his submission skills and endurance to counter Soriano’s aggressive approach. The fight promises to be a tactical battle, with each fighter needing to showcase their strengths while navigating the threats posed by their opponent. The outcome could hinge on Soriano’s ability to land powerful strikes and Stoltzfus’s capacity to adapt and exploit opportunities.
Both men came out exchanging early, each landing solid shots of their own. Stoltzfus looked to set up his takedowns at range with body kicks while Soriano looked to get on the inside and land some bombs. Both men landed clean strikes throughout the round, with Soriano landing some stunning blows throughout. Stoltzfus landed a big slam with a minute left in the round but was unable to keep the Hawaain down. The round seemed like it was about to end close until Stoltzfus landed a right hand that sat Soriano down with just one second left in the first.
Soriano immediately got up and went to his corner but the fight was downhill from that moment on. Stoltzfus controlled the range and was able to land effective kicks throughout the early stages of round two. About halfway into the round, the two met for a big exchange of punches which was ended by another slam takedown by Stoltzfus. Even though Soriano was able to get up, he was quickly dragged back down by Stoltzfus who now had his back and seeped in a deep rear naked choke. Soriano was able to fight the hands for a bit but ultimately succumbed to the choke, leaving Stoltzfus the winner in a bout he was a massive underdog in.
The win likely continues the UFC career of Stoltzfus, who with a loss, was a candidate to be cut. The Pennsylvania native now holds a 2-4 record in the promotion and is riding his biggest win to date.
What did you think about Stoltzfus’s big upset win? Let us know in the comments below.
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