UFC Fight Island 7: Punahele Soriano Admits to Nerves Ahead of Todorovic Fight — Which Brings Out the Best in Him

Undefeated Hawaiian Punahele Soriano sat out all of 2020, with a pair of bouts falling through. “Story Time” is hoping to come out of this weekend’s UFC Fight Island 7 with a different take to tell, however.

The chiseled middleweight has been paired up with Dusko Todorovic, in a rare clash of undefeated fighters inside the octagon.

Heading into the fight, after being sidelined an entire year, “emotions are high,” Soriano told Cageside Press during a virtual media day promoting UFC Fight Island 7 this week. “It almost felt like a win just making it here. So anything else from this is just like an extra bonus. Emotions are through the roof.”

There are plenty of similarities between Soriano and his latest opponent. Two undefeated middleweights. Both one fight removed from Dana White’s Contender Series. Both still in their twenties, all of two years apart.

“I’m excited. I like the way he fights,” Soriano said in regards to Dusko Todorovic. “When I got his name, I got real nervous, I got sweaty, and I think that’s the kind of stuff that makes me the best — that makes me the top of my game. I’m the man at rising to adversity, and I like the challenge.”

Rising to the challenge is one thing. Staying motivated has been another. With all that time off, the Hawaiian admitted that staying focused wasn’t easy. “That was tough. Honestly I don’t know. I just, you have no other option I guess. You’re either going to fall off track, or you keep trucking and will yourself through it,” he explained. “So I guess I just willed myself through it.”

Punahele Soriano faces Dusko Todorovic at UFC Fight Island 7 (UFC on ABC 1) this Saturday, January 16 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The main card airs live on ABC starting at 3PM ET (TSN in Canada).