Kicking off the televised card at UFC Fight Island 7, and making a little bit of history in the process, were middleweights Punahele Soriano and Dusko Todorovic.
A battle of undefeated prospects, Soriano vs. Todorovic was a very good fight on paper. It was also the first ever UFC bout on ABC, as the promotion returned to a broadcast network for the first time since 2018, when its broadcast deal with FOX came to an end.
In theory, then, Soriano and Todorovic had a lot more eyeballs on them Saturday. Not that it mattered in terms of what would happen in the cage — but big things were expected.
Punahele took a big swing early in Saturday’s main card opener, getting right to business. Todorovic looked light on his feet. He got his combinations going, but before long, Soriano connected, knocking Dusko’s mouth piece free. The Hawaiian’s power was a big factor early, especially when he knocked Todorovic down with a single punch with just under two minutes remaining in the round. Todorovic was scrambling, scooting on his backside to get away from Soriano. He escaped for a bit, then wound up absorbing more damage and having his mouthpiece knocked free again.
A brief reprieve followed, as Todorovic’s mouth guard wound up stuck in the octagon fence. But when the action resumed, Punahele Soriano dropped him again with a left hand. Ref Herb Dean had seen enough. With Todorovic dropped multiple times, he waved off the affair.
That's how you start the main card!
— UFC (@ufc) January 16, 2021
Soriano improved to 8-0 with the win, and served up Todorovic’s first loss in the process. He’ll move forward to bigger and better things, and having earned the win in front of a vast ABC audience, he’s likely going to see a step up in competition next.
Official Result: Punahele Soriano def. Dusko Soriano by TKO, Round 1, 4:48