At the Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts Gymnasium in Las Vegas, Nevada, there is no doubt as to the identity of the team captain, Brad Tavares of Hilo coming from a successful 20th career UFC fight, a victory which was his 14th in the organization.
This weekend, however, it is one of his proudest protégés who will enter the Octagon as fellow Hawaiian-born middleweight Punahele Soriano returns to the Octagon.
The unbeaten 28-year-old will face Brendan Allen in the UFC main event on the ESPN 27 preliminary card in Las Vegas this Saturday, giving Punahele a chance to continue his promotional standings pursuit.
“I feel good, I feel ready. This is what I worked for, this is what I want to do. I have invested a lot in it and I have great people around me. Now it’s time to go out there and do what I love to do, ”Soriano told KHON2 athletic director Rob DeMello during his last practice before checking in at his hotel before the chores. fight week with the UFC.
Last January, Soriano returned from a year off due to injury by making a statement knocking out Dusko Todorovic in the first round in Abu Dhabi, which took the Waialua native to 8-0, with seven of those wins. by KO or submission in the first round.
“Every day that I train I have this in mind, I work everyday to finish this guy. This is what I train for. I practice putting people aside. I am not fighting for a decision. I fight to end people.
“I feel like a mystery. People don’t really know what else is there. People just see the heavy hands, see the finishes and they don’t really understand why or how I feel like it. There is a lot more to it than people think. I feel like I’m using my fight to keep the fight on my feet to keep people out, but it gives me a lot of confidence. People just don’t know what I can do.
For Soriano, Saturday’s fight is a big step in his career as it will close the prelims on ESPN, which gives a glimpse of what the UFC thinks about the heavy-handed wrestler who remains motivated to prove he is not. not a one-ride pony. Although Soriano’s marketing portrays the image of a knockout artist, he can’t wait to show just how much of a martial artist he is if given the chance.
“It’s a big step and I appreciate the opportunity they gave me, but I don’t really think about it. I’m just focusing on finishing Brendan and that’s all I’m really focusing on. I could be the first fight, I was already the first fight and that doesn’t change a thing. I’m here to finish people off, ”Soriano said.
Soriano is one of five Hawaii-born Xtreme Couture members currently on UFC contract with a handful more on the rise. Soriano’s UFC on ESPN 27 vs. Allen is scheduled for Saturday at 10:00 a.m. HST on ESPN.