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Fil-Am Puna Soriano loses to Dustin Stoltzfus in UFC Fight Night

MANILA, Philippines – It was another disappointing loss for promising Filipino-American mixed martial artist Punahele Soriano.

The Hawaii-born Soriano with full Filipino roots was peppering opponent Dustin Stoltzfus in the main card opener of UFC Fight Night last Sunday, December 3, at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. But he could not land any lethal combinations. 

Soriano was winning the exchange of strikes, but Stoltzfus was mixing up strikes with kicks and takedowns of which the former, surprisingly since he was a Division III All-American in wrestling, has had poor defense. 

A takedown by Stoltzfus and a strong left that decked Soriano right in the final second of the first round gave the German-American the confidence to take the fight to the latter.

And it swung what was supposed to be a first round for Soriano by sheer volume of shots.

The knockdown swung it in favor of Stoltzfus, with judges Gino Garcia and Patrick Patlan giving it 10-9 to the German-American, with only Mike Beltran giving the nod to the Fil-American, 10-9. 

Round 2 saw much different body language for both fighters as Soriano was clearly shaken by the knockdown. Stoltzfus grew in confidence as the round wore on. Two takedowns saw him take the starch out of Soriano. 

Slipping the rear naked choke, Soriano had no choice but to tap out at the 4:10 mark.

When Soriano first arrived in the UFC, he won his first two fights after coming out of Dana White’s Contender Series. This loss, Soriano’s fourth in the last five matches, clearly places him in the dire straits that Stoltzfus found himself coming into this fight.

Stoltzfus had lost four of five matches and desperately needed a win to keep his UFC career alive. Now he has it while there is doubt in Soriano, who has only shown a lethal left hand and nothing more.

Stoltzfus climbed to 16-5 and was awarded Performance of the Night and the $50,000 bonus. Soriano dropped to 9-4.

The penultimate UFC event for 2023 will be on Sunday, December 10, with Song Yadong taking on Chris Gutierrez in the main event. This will be televised live in the Philippines via the Premier Sports Channel on Skycable and Cignal as well as the Blast TV streaming