UFC Vegas 67: Punahele Soriano Believes He Nearly Died After Contracting Cellulitis

Las Vegas, NV — Hawaiian middleweight Punahele Soriano knows he has to “fight another monster again” at UFC Vegas 67.

That monster comes in the form of Russia’s Roman Kopylov, who Soriano (9-2) will face in a main card match-up at the UFC Apex this Saturday.

It’s been roughly six months since Soriano’s last fight, a knockout win over Dalcha Lungiambula. Part of that time away was to heal up an injured hand. Then there was what Soriano believes was a near-death experience.

“I didn’t really tell anyone, but I got super, super sick, I think I almost died. I had shingles that turned into cellulitis on my face and under my heart,” Soriano revealed. “I ended up going to the ER, they had to give me antibiotics and all that crap. But the night before, I remember just laying on the couch, it felt like I was in a choke hold. And I was like ‘this could be the night I don’t wake up,’ and I went like ‘oh I hope I wake up,’ and I went to bed. But I woke up.”

Often caused by streptococci bacteria, cellulitis is responsible for thousands of deaths each year, although most cases are much more mild. Age and obesity can be factors, though obviously not in the case of Soriano, who appears to be in tip-top shape ahead of his fight this Saturday.

As for what brought about his bout with cellulitis, Soriano believes it was bacterial in nature. “It was just bacteria that got under your skin or something. I got some crazy scars, you can kind of see it on my face, from where it was and under my chest, there’s a nice little scar from it. So that was cool.”

Watch the full UFC Vegas 67 media day appearance from Punahele Soriano above.