Poland’s Oskar Piechota gets to welcome Contender Series winner Punahele Soriano to the octagon at UFC 245.
Las Vegas, NV — Former Cage Warriors champion Oskar Piechota (11–2–1) will serve as the welcoming committee when Punahele Soriano makes his octagon debut this Saturday. UFC 245 in Las Vegas will be kicked off by the middleweight pair, and Contender Series winner Soriano is certainly not being given a cakewalk for his first UFC fight.
It’s a tough opponent out of the gate in Piechota. But, as he told Cageside Press at the UFC 245 media day, Soriano is “also a tough guy. I think he’s a very ambitious fighter. He doesn’t want to fight with some weaker guy. I think he wants to fight for the big events, the best fights.”
“I’m glad that I can be the one to face him,” the Polish fighter added.
Piechota hasn’t spent too much time focusing on what the octagon newcomer might do. “I don’t know what his game plan will be. I know he’s a southpaw, and he hits hard,” he said. “I’m just expecting a tough fight.”
On how the fight came together, Oskar Piechota said simply that “I stay out of this process. My manager thinks about that. I never say no to any one fight. It’s difficult for me to say ‘no I won’t fight this guy’ or ‘maybe I will fight the other guy.'”
“That’s the sport,” he added. “If you want to be the best you fight with everybody. So when we get the offer, we just say yes.”
UFC 245 against Soriano, noted Piechota, was good timing for him, and as a bonus, a big event. Really, the only thing that matters for him when accepting a fight is timing. “I had a chance to fight before, but that was a bit too close to my [previous] fight, like I had two weeks.” The Soriano fight, on the other hand, “I had a few months to prepare.”
Like many fighters, Piechota’s path to MMA started with a single discipline. “I started training jiu-jitsu,” he said. That led to competing in that sport, and an eventual transition to MMA. But while jiu-jitsu was his first martial art, he’s not beholden to any one discipline or technique.
“I don’t know that I have a favorite technique. I like to fight standing, ground, I like to roll a lot, I like to do wrestling,” he explained. As he later pointed out, you might learn some new technique and want to try it out constantly in sparring, but then switch to training another discipline for a day.
And when it comes to a live fight, “when you have a chance to finish in the fight, I don’t focus on ‘that’s my favorite technique.’ I try to use the technique I can in the moment [to finish] in the fight.”
Watch our full UFC 245 media day interview with Oskar Piechota above!