Will Puna Pummel Yet Another Opponent?
If you’re not already familiar with the name Punahele “Puna” Soriano, you soon will be. Tonight one of Hawaii’s finest will face off against previously featured Brendan Allen at 185 pounds. In a bout which arguably deserves a place on the main card, will be the featured prelim matchup this evening at UFC on ESPN 27.
Fighting out of Xtreme Couture, 28 year old Soriano (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will aim to extend his undefeated record to 9-0 this weekend.
With only four years of professional cage experience, Puna has wins in LFA, PFL, and now the UFC. The rising prospect is a product of the Dana White Contender Series, the only fight of Puna’s thus far to go the distance.
Before falling in love with his hands, Soriano entered the mixed martial arts world as an experienced judoka and former high school wrestling state champion. Despite his strong grappling foundation, all but two of Puna’s wins have come by first round knockout.
If you’re at all interested in experiencing an adrenaline rush just by watching a fight from your couch, make sure you tune into this one.
Soriano throws volume, but with relentless, unforgiving power. Allen will undoubtedly be Puna’s toughest test so far, and if he can navigate this obstacle, perhaps he’ll find himself standing adjacent to someone in the top 15 in his next appearance.
Until then, make sure to catch Puna in the prelim headliner for his third UFC appearance on ESPN+.
Adrian Yanez vs. Randy Costa
Knockout Artists Collide
Previously slated for the undercard was a matchup at 135 pounds featuring Adrian Yanez and Randy “The Zohan” Costa. After a last-minute cancellation of the co-main event, this matchup has been moved to the opening fight on the main card.
Many have referred to Yanez as a young Jorge Masvidal for his exciting, striking-heavy style. The native Texan has never been finished, and two of his three losses have come by split decision. Including his Contender Series audition, Yanez is going on his fourth straight fight in less than a year. With 8 knockouts and 2 submissions, only three of Yanez’s wins have come by decision.
As he faces off against a formidable opponent in Costa (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), Yanez will aim to extend his winning streak to 7 in a row.
With a near-perfect record, Costa is no “slouch” either. Though he got submitted in his one and only loss, Costa has never been KO’d in his professional career. In fact, he is usually the one putting his foes to sleep. Each of Costa’s wins have come in the form of a devastating first round knockout.
It’s no mystery why this bout was bumped to the big stage. These two fighters could very well be the most underrated, yet most exciting prospects outside of the top 15 rankings at 135 pounds.
As fans, we can’t help but wonder what will happen when such tenacious and talented competitors come toe-to-toe. Few things are certain in the hurt business, but when two exciting knockout artists collide, audience satisfaction is a certainty. Will Yanez impose his slick, fluid striking for another crafty knockout? Or, will Costa make Yanez pay for messing with the Zohan?
Julio Arce: Light the Wick & Run
Teammate of previously featured Mike Trizano and #14 ranked featherweight Shane Burgos, Julio Arce is making a return this weekend in his 135 pound debut against Andre Ewell.
You guessed it, Arce is another product of the increasingly popular breeding ground for UFC prospects, Dana White’s Contender Series. Arce will make his first appearance in over a year after suffering a close split decision loss to Hakeem Dawodu in 2019. The 31 year old NY native is 16-3 overall, and 3-2 in the UFC. Despite his success at 145 pounds, the former featherweight has decided to test the waters in one of the deepest, most talent-rich divisions in the UFC.
Many of us have become Arce fans after watching his spectacular performances against other talented prospects including Dan Ige, Daniel Teymur, and Julian Erosa. The gas tank, relentless pace, and quick hands of Arce make him a nightmare for anyone standing in his way.
If this will be your first time watching Arce, prepare to be convinced that groundhog day and the Fourth of July are one and the same, because when he steps into the cage tonight, fireworks are a certainty.
Tune into UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw tonight on ESPN+ to watch Julio Arce, Adrian Yanez, Randy Costa, Puna Soriano, and countless others go to battle.