UFC on ESPN 27 Prelims: Brendan Allen Outduels Heavy-Handed Punahele Soriano

By: Brian Knapp
Jul 24, 2021


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Brendan Allen danced with danger and survived to tell the tale.

The former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion on Saturday leaned on a sustained body attack and laid claim to a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Punahele Soriano in the featured UFC on ESPN 27 prelim at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Allen (17-4, 5-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges.

Soriano (8-1, 2-1 UFC) swung for the fences but came up empty far too often. Allen chewed up the heavy-handed Hawaiian with brutal body kicks and sneaky punches to the midsection, turning him into a mostly stationary target midway through the match. Despite the visible effects of fatigue, Soriano sent spit flying with a clean left hook in the third round but failed to string together offense in more than one-punch bursts. Allen continued to zero on the body with kicks while mixing in multi-punch combinations and occasional knees to the head.

Underdog Imavov Buries Heinisch


MMA Factory product Nassourdine Imavov brought down former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Ian Heinisch with punches in the second round of their middleweight tilt. Imavov (10-3, 2-1 UFC) closed the deal 3:09 into Round 2, winning for the seventh time in eight assignments.

Heinisch (14-5, 3-4 UFC) enjoyed some success with kicks to the inside and outside of the Frenchman’s leg, but his gains were minimal. Imavov pressed forward with punches—a punishing jab was perhaps his most effective weapon—and methodically broke down the Sanford MMA rep. He countered Heinisch with a stinging left hand during their final exchange, pinned him to the fence and sent a knee crashing into his face. Imavov then flurried on the crouched American with punches until the job was done.

The 32-year-old Henisch has lost four of his last five fights.

Related » UFC on ESPN 27 Round-by-Round Scoring


Gall Choke Submits Williams


Onetime “CM Punk” tormentor Mickey Gall submitted Dana White’s Contender Series alum Jordan Williams with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their welterweight clash. Williams (9-5, 0-2 UFC) raised the white flag 2:57 into Round 1, as he lost for the third time in four fights.

Gall (7-3, 6-3 UFC) cracked the Colorado-based Californian with a right hand at close range and seized control from there. He bit down on a guillotine choke during a later exchange, transitioned to full mount and ultimately moved to the back. Once his position was secured, Gall snaked his arms in place for the fight-ending choke and left Williams no choice but to tap.

The submission was Gall’s first in nearly three years.

Surging Arce Stops Ewell


Team Tiger Schulmann’s Julio Arce took care of onetime CES MMA champion Andre Ewell with punches in the second round of their bantamweight encounter. Ewell (17-8, 4-4 UFC) bowed out 3:45 into Round 2, the Apex MMA export losing for the second time in as many outings.

Outside of suffering a cut near his right eye, Arce (17-4, 4-2 UFC) experienced little in the way of difficulty. The former Ring of Combat titleholder tore into Ewell with leg kicks, countered effectively and otherwise handled his business. Arce wobbled his counterpart with a left cross in the second round, swarmed with punches and forced referee Chris Tognoni to call for the standing stoppage.

The 31-year-old Arce has won nine of his last 11 bouts.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

Eubanks Squashes Newcomer Reed


“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 26 graduate Sijara Eubanks put away former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder Elise Reed with punches in the first round of their women’s flyweight clash. The previously unbeaten Reed (4-1, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 3:49 into Round 1.

Eubanks (7-6, 5-4 UFC) executed a takedown inside the first 10 seconds, hammered away with ground-and-pound and transitioned from the knee-on-belly position to full mount. Reed did what she could to cover up but could not prevent her situation from becoming utterly hopeless. Eubanks moved to mount for a second time, buried elbows into the promotional newcomer’s face—they resulted in significant damage to Reed’s right eye—and drew the curtain with unanswered punches.

The win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Eubanks.

Belbita Outstrikes Returning Goldy


House of Champions MMA rep Diana Belbita outstruck Hannah Goldy to a unanimous decision in a three-round women’s strawweight pairing. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Belbita (14-6, 1-2 UFC), who threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak.

Goldy (5-2, 0-2 UFC) fell behind at the start and never recovered. Belbita sat her down with a right hand in the first round and staggered her with another in the third, flurrying for a potential finish on both occasions. While her efforts failed to net the stoppage, they allowed the Canada-based Romanian to keep her nose in front for the duration. Goldy struck for a takedown in the final minute of the match, climbed to full mount and applied some elbow-laced ground-and-pound. Alas, time was not on her side.

The appearance was Goldy’s first since Aug. 3, 2019. Advertisement
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