By Jake Smith
2015 IMMAF World Champion Brendan Allen claimed his 5th UFC victory with a slick striking display resulting in a unanimous decision win over Punahele Soriano.
The middleweight clash pitted two of the best up and comers at 185lbs in the feature preliminary bout of UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs. Dillashaw.
Stylistically, the bout was always going to be an interesting one. Allen has shown his immaculate ground game throughout his professional tenure, ending nine contests by way of submission. Soriano on the other hand, is known for being a hard hitting fast starter; having claimed seven of his eight wins within the opening round.
Allen was clearly aware of Soriano’s rapid output early in fights, weathering the storm as Soriano pushed the pace and looked to land some impactful strikes. Allen systematically worked his way into the round, working away at the body with an array of shots. As the bell went at the end of the first, it was still all to play for, with both men having successful spells in the opening five minutes.
Allen picked up where he left off and opened round two with yet another crunching body kick, a shot that would become a regular feature of the round; landing time and time again with severe reddening appearing around the ribs of a visibly tiring Soriano. When closing the distance, Allen was firing knees up the middle, snapping Soriano’s head back with each one that landed.
In the third and final round, it looked as though the tables were about to turn when, after catching a kick from Allen, Soriano launched thunderous left hand down the pipe but, to the shock of the commentary team, the shot appeared to have little to no effect on Allen. Soriano appeared to catch a second wind and looked to land some more heavy artillery but 21-fight veteran Allen, used his extensive fight IQ to see the bout to the final bell whilst continuing to unload with and landing some serious shots of his own in the process. Allen walked away with a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 unanimous decision and many plaudits due to his much improved striking.
Post fight, Allen expressed his interest in facing a top 10 opponent. At only 25, he has the potential to be a perennial contender in the Middleweight division for years to come.