For UFC bantamweight Joe Soto, 2017 had both its ups and its downs, highlighted by a win over his most experienced opponent to date, and then the fastest loss of his career.
“The year started off pretty good,” Soto told MMAWeekly.com. “I beat Rani Yahya (at UFC Fight Night 106), who was ranked #14 in the world, in March in Brazil. Then I had a hiccup in my last fight against Brett Johns (at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale) in December. My year started off good and kind of ended bad.”
Though his fight with Johns only lasted 30 seconds, Soto feels he can learn from the loss.
“I got caught in a good submission, a good move, that I didn’t see coming,” said Soto. “You can learn, especially when you get caught with a technical error. There’s situation stuff like being put in that position and being more aware and what I did wrong.”
“I wasn’t really stressing it too much,” Soto said. “I could have pushed it a little bit more and been a little bit more ready than I was. That’s what I’m trying to do this year.
“I just fought, and now I’m ready to go, and I’m going to keep staying ready. I’m going to keep my weight down so it will be a lot easier to stay busy. A lot of times between fights I’ll blow up a little bit in weight, so I’m trying to make it easier for me to avoid that.”
Brazil, Soto (18-6) will look to get back on track against Iuri Alcantara (35-9) in a main card 135-pound bout at UFC Fight Night 125 on Saturday in Belem, Brazil.
“Iuri is a tough opponent,” said Soto. “He was in the Top 15 for a while. He has a lot of experience, like myself.
“It’s going to be an interesting match-up; to go to Brazil and compete in front of a hostile environment with them probably cheering him and booing me. I’m excited to go out and perform, and make up for my last fight.”
Though Soto is looking to be more active in 2018, he’s not going to try to focus too much on what could come, but rather what he has in front of him as the year progresses.
“I try to take it fight by fight, but I would like to get in two or three wins this year and we’ll see where are at,” Soto said. “I’m going to focus on this fight right here in front of me and then move on to the next one.”