Brendan Allen finds himself on the periphery of contention in the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight division, perhaps a win or two away from some truly meaningful opportunities at 185 pounds.
The former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion will take the next step in his development when he toes the line against the unbeaten Punahele Soriano in the featured UFC on ESPN 27 prelim this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Allen, 25, has momentum on his side, with wins in eight of his past nine outings. He last competed at UFC 261, where he rebounded from a technical knockout loss to Sean Strickland five months prior and submitted Karl Roberson with an ankle lock in the first round of their April 24 confrontation.
In advance of Allen’s three-round tilt with Soriano, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He was a quick study.
Allen broke into the sport as a teenager and made his professional debut as a 19-year-old on Aug. 22, 2015, when he put away Zebulon Stroud with punches 4:40 into their World Fighting Championships 42 pairing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Beaufort, South Carolina, native won seven of his first eight fights.
2. Tenacity has served him well.
“All In” captured the undisputed Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight championship on his third try when he dismissed Tim Hiley with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their LFA 50 main event in September 2018. Allen had failed in two previous attempts to win the promotion’s 185-pound title, falling short of the mark in five-round decisions.
3. He earned his stripes.
Despite his considerable success in the Legacy Fighting Alliance organization, Allen gained entry to the Ultimate Fighting Championship via Dana White’s Contender Series. His rear-naked choke submission of Aaron Jeffery on Season 3 of DWCS propelled him onto the UFC roster in 2019. Allen has since gone 4-1 inside the Octagon.
4. Strangulation has been his weapon of choice.
The Sanford MMA representative has delivered nine of his 16 professional victories by submission, seven of them—six rear-naked chokes and one triangle choke—involving the neck. The two outliers: his aforementioned finish against Roberson and a keylock stoppage against Sidney Wheeler under the Valor Fights banner in 2016.
5. His smarts extend beyond the cage.
Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Southeastern Louisiana University, the same school that produced current “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.