Enduring his first-career loss took a weight off of Punahele Soriano’s shoulders.
Though Soriano (8-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) reiterated in the past that he never felt any stress of being an unbeaten rising contender, he admits that wasn’t truly the case.
After a solid first round against Brendan Allen at UFC on ESPN 27, Soriano started to slow down as he entered unfamiliar territory. Allen became the first man to get out of the first round against Soriano and proceeded to wear him out to the body and out-strike him over the course of three rounds.
“I’d like to say there was never stress about being undefeated, but secretly there always was,” Soriano told MMA Junkie. “And I feel like when I get into camp again, I’ll feel less stressed about staying undefeated since I’m not anymore. So I think that’s another good factor about it.”
He continued, “I feel like you almost have to say no or else you bring it to yourself. It’s weird.”
The shots to the body caused massive swelling on Soriano’s ribs, but a fractured toe kept him on the sidelines for four weeks. The 28-year-old, who revealed that he’s now represented by prominent MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz, is hoping to return before the end of the year.
“I’m thinking December,” Soriano said. “I would really like to fight in December, get one more before the year ends, have a really good Christmas, then depending on how that goes, I would like to start off 2022 with a bang as well. If not ending off 2021 with a bang, I’d like to start up 2022 with a bang, so one of the two.”
Punahele Soriano def. Oskar Piechota at UFC 245: Best photos
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