Joe Soto

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Joe Soto
Born (1987-03-22) March 22, 1987 (age 34)
Porterville, California, United States
Other namesOne Bad Mofo
The Hammer (formerly)
ResidenceSanta Rosa, California, United States
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)[1]
Weight135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)
DivisionFeatherweight (formerly),
Reach65 in (165 cm)[1]
StyleBoxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Fighting out ofSanta Rosa, California, United States
TeamNor-Cal Fighting Alliance
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Terrell[2]
WrestlingNJCAA Wrestling
Years active2006–present
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout5
By submission10
By decision3
By knockout4
By submission2
By decision1
Notable school(s)Iowa Central Community College
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Joseph Angel Soto (born March 22, 1987) is an American professional mixed martial artist who most recently competed in the bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A professional competitor since 2006, Soto has also formerly competed for Bellator Fighting Championships, where he was the inaugural Bellator Featherweight World Champion and first ever winner of their Featherweight Tournament, and for Tachi Palace Fights where he is the former Tachi Palace Fights Bantamweight Champion.


At the time Soto was born, the fourth son, his parents were struggling financially, with his father working as a garbage man and his mother as a house cleaner.[3] Soto grew up in a very religious Pentecostal family, attending church with his family weekly. Soto went to Porterville High School in California where he was on the wrestling team and won a California state title. [4] Soto got an athletic scholarship to Iowa Central Community College was a 2x NJCAA All-American. There Soto wrestled with Jon Jones and fellow Mexican American Cain Velasquez. Soto and Jones were also roommates during their freshmen and sophomore years.[5]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Soto began training mixed martial arts after meeting another fighter who agreed to train him in his garage. Soto began training and took his first fight at a Gladiator Challenge event. Soto won the fight midway in the first round via technical knockout. Soto compiled a 4-0 record before getting signed to Bellator Fighting Championships.


Soto joined Bellator by entering their Season One Featherweight Tournament. Soto made his debut defeating Ben Greer at Bellator 1.

In Soto's semi-final fight, which took place May 8 at Bellator 6, he dominated Wilson Reis from the opening bell with impeccable takedown defense and superior striking. Despite being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and the only EliteXC Featherweight Champion, Reis could never get the fight to the ground.

Soto advanced to the Bellator Featherweight Finals and took on Yahir Reyes.[6] Soto won the fight by submission in the second round and became the first Bellator Featherweight Champion. A few days before the championships, Soto cut his eyelid while wrestling during a warm-up and had to go to the hospital. Knowing stitches were not an option, he and his friends went to a beauty parlor to have the cut covered with make-up. While the doctor was inspecting Soto, his camp made sure to crack jokes and distract the specialist from noticing the cut over his eye.[7]

At Bellator 19, Soto fought Diego Saraiva in a "Super Fight".[8] Soto won the fight after cage side doctors said Saraiva was unable to continue because of a cut on his forehead.

Soto had his first title defense in the third season, taking on the winner of the Season Two Featherweight Tournament, Joe Warren.[9] Following a dominant first round Soto was knocked unconscious by Warren at 0:33 of the second round. In the fight, Soto suffered a detached retina and was forced to stay away from fighting for nearly a year.[10]

Bellator promoter, Bjorn Rebney, stated that Soto was eligible to drop down a weight class for Bellator's Season Five Bantamweight Tournament with a win at Tachi Palace Fights 10.[11] Soto lost to Eddie Yagin by first-round submission, and was replaced in the tournament. After the loss to Yagin, Soto was released from his Bellator contract.

Tachi Palace Fights[edit]

In January 2012 Soto picked up a win over Chris David and was signed to fight for Tachi Palace Fights. Soto fought his first TPF fight on May 10, 2012 against former WEC fighter, Chad George. Soto won the fight via second-round submission.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

In August 2014 Soto signed a deal with the UFC.

Soto was expected to face Anthony Birchak on August 30, 2014 at UFC 177.[12] However, the day of the weigh-ins, Renan Barão had to be admitted to the hospital as a result of his attempts to cut weight. Soto stepped up and faced champion T.J. Dillashaw in the main event.[13] He lost the fight via knockout in the fifth round.[14]

A rescheduled bout with Anthony Birchak took place on June 6, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 68.[15] Soto lost the fight via knockout in the first round.[16]

Soto faced Michinori Tanaka on January 2, 2016 at UFC 195, filling in for an injured Russell Doane.[17] He lost the fight by split decision.[18]

Soto next faced Chris Beal on June 18, 2016 at UFC Fight Night 89.[19] He won the back and forth fight via submission in the third round.[20]

Soto was tabbed as a short notice replacement to face Marco Beltrán in a catchweight bout on November 5, 2016 at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale.[21] He won the fight via submission in the first round.[22]

Soto faced Rani Yahya on March 11, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 106.[23] He won the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision.[24]

Soto faced Brett Johns on December 1, 2017 at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale.[25] He lost the fight via submission in round one.[26]

Soto faced Iuri Alcântara on February 3, 2018 at UFC Fight Night 125.[27] The bout with Alcântara marks the last fight of Soto's current four-fight contract with UFC.[28] He lost the fight via TKO due to strikes in the first round.[29]

On August 28, 2018, it was reported that Soto was released by UFC.[30]

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu[edit]

On August 15, 2015 Soto competed in Eddie Bravo Invitational 4 (The Bantamweights).

Soto entered the competition as an underdog, his first bout was against Eddie Fyvie. Soto won the bout via heel hook in the opening round

Soto then progressed into the quarterfinals, where he faced 2 time EBI champion Geo Martinez. He won the bout via quickest escape time during overtime.

Soto then progressed into the semifinals, where he faced Joao Miyao (another world-class opponent). He won the bout via quickest escape time during overtime.

Soto then progressed to the finals, where he faced leg lock specialist and favourite of the competition Eddie Cummings. Soto defended many of Cummings' leg lock attempts for several minutes until finally succumbing to a heel hook.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]


Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
25 matches 18 wins 7 losses
By knockout 5 4
By submission 10 2
By decision 3 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 18–7 Iuri Alcântara TKO (body kick and punches) UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Anders February 3, 2018 1 1:06 Belém, Brazil
Loss 18–6 Brett Johns Submission (calf slicer) The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion Finale December 1, 2017 1 0:30 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 18–5 Rani Yahya Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum March 11, 2017 3 5:00 Fortaleza, Brazil
Win 17–5 Marco Beltrán Submission (heel hook) The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale: dos Anjos vs. Ferguson November 5, 2016 1 1:37 Mexico City, Mexico Catchweight (140 lbs) bout.
Win 16–5 Chris Beal Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Thompson June 18, 2016 3 3:39 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Loss 15–5 Michinori Tanaka Decision (split) UFC 195 January 2, 2016 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss 15–4 Anthony Birchak KO (punches) UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson June 6, 2015 1 1:37 New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Loss 15–3 T.J. Dillashaw KO (head kick and punches) UFC 177 August 30, 2014 5 2:20 Sacramento, California, United States For the UFC Bantamweight Championship.
Win 15–2 Terrion Ware Submission (north-south choke) Tachi Palace Fights 20 August 7, 2014 3 2:48 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 14–2 Jeremiah Labiano TKO (doctor stoppage) Tachi Palace Fights 18 February 6, 2014 3 4:16 Lemoore, California, United States Won the vacant TPF Bantamweight Championship.
Win 13–2 Cory Vom Baur Submission (guillotine choke) Tachi Palace Fights 17 November 14, 2013 1 4:36 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 12–2 Chad George Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) Tachi Palace Fights 13 May 10, 2012 2 2:01 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 11–2 Chris David Submission (rear-naked choke) TWC 13: Impact January 27, 2012 2 4:28 Porterville, California, United States
Win 10–2 Romeo McCovey Decision (unanimous) NFF: Norcal Fight Fest October 15, 2011 3 5:00 Blue Lake, California, United States Bantamweight debut.
Loss 9–2 Eddie Yagin Submission (guillotine choke) TPF 10: Let The Chips Fall August 5, 2011 1 2:00 Lemoore, California, United States For the vacant TPF Featherweight Championship.
Loss 9–1 Joe Warren KO (knee and punches) Bellator 27 September 2, 2010 2 0:33 San Antonio, Texas, United States Lost the Bellator Featherweight World Championship.
Win 9–0 Diego Saraiva TKO (doctor stoppage) Bellator 19 May 20, 2010 1 5:00 Grand Prairie, Texas, United States Non-title bout.
Win 8–0 Mike Christensen Submission (gogoplata) TPF 1: Tachi Palace Fights 1 October 8, 2009 1 2:06 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 7–0 Yahir Reyes Submission (rear-naked choke) Bellator 10 June 5, 2009 2 4:11 Ontario, California, United States Won the Bellator Featherweight World Championship.
Win 6–0 Wilson Reis Decision (unanimous) Bellator 6 May 8, 2009 3 5:00 Robstown, Texas, United States Bellator Season One Featherweight Tournament Semifinal.
Win 5–0 Ben Greer TKO (punches) Bellator 1 April 3, 2009 1 3:40 Hollywood, Florida, United States Bellator Season One Featherweight Tournament Quarterfinal.
Win 4–0 Anthony Luna Submission (kimura) Gladiator Challenge 86: Day of the Dead November 2, 2008 1 0:33 Miami, Florida, United States
Win 3–0 Brandon Jinnies TKO (punches) PFC 10: Explosive September 26, 2008 1 0:59 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 2–0 Darren Crisp Submission (kneebar) PFC 9: The Return July 18, 2008 1 1:08 Lemoore, California, United States
Win 1–0 Jared Williams TKO (punches) Gladiator Challenge 53: Hell Storm July 16, 2006 1 3:26 Porterville, California, United States

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fight Card - UFC Fight Night Boetsch vs. Henderson". Retrieved June 5, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ joesoto135 (June 26, 2016). "@daveterrel promoted me to black belt today!". Instagram. Retrieved November 5, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-05. Retrieved 2009-05-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Porterville High Alum Joe Soto". Retrieved Aug 12, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Soto, Reyes Advance in Bellator Tournament". Sherdog.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-16. Retrieved 2009-12-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-03-29. Retrieved 2010-03-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-03-13. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-17. Retrieved 2011-04-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2011-05-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Thomas Gerbasi (2014-08-12). "Soto-Birchak completes UFC 177 card". Retrieved 2014-08-12. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Renan Barao out of UFC 177, Joe Soto meets T.J. Dillashaw for title". August 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Dave Doyle (August 31, 2014). "UFC 177 results: T.J. Dillashaw knocks out a game Joe Soto in the fifth round".
  15. ^ Marc Raimondi (2015-03-18). "Joe Soto returns to meet Anthony Birchak at UFC Fight Night in New Orleans". Retrieved 2015-03-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Damon Martin (2015-06-06). "Anthony Birchak face plants Joe Soto with crushing first-round KO". Retrieved 2015-06-06. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "UFC 195 gets change-up: Russell Doane out, Joe Soto in vs. Michinori Tanaka". 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2016-01-02). "UFC 195 results: Michinori Tanaka keeps submission-happy Joe Soto from first UFC win". Retrieved 2016-01-02. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "'Kid' Yamamoto scratched from UFC Fight Night 89, Joe Soto now meets Chris Beal". 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-05-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Steven Marrocco (2016-06-18). "UFC Fight Night 89 results: Joe Soto scores comeback submission of Chris Beal". Retrieved 2016-06-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Shaun Al-Shatti (2016-11-01). "Joe Soto replaces Guido Cannetti, against Marco Beltran at UFC Fight Night 98". Retrieved 2016-11-01. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ Ben Fowlkes (2016-11-05). "UFC Fight Night 98 results: Joe Soto takes out Marco Beltran in 97 seconds with masterful heel hook". Retrieved 2016-11-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Guilherme Cruz (2017-02-14). "Joe Soto meets Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night in Fortaleza". Retrieved 2017-02-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Steven Marrocco (2017-03-11). "UFC Fight Night 106 results: With blood gushing everywhere, Joe Soto tops gassed Rani Yahya". Retrieved 2017-03-11. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Dale Jordan (2017-09-05). "Joe Soto vs. Brett Johns added to the TUF 26 Finale in Las Vegas". Archived from the original on 2017-09-09. Retrieved 2017-09-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ "TUF 26 Finale results: Brett Johns needs just 30 seconds to finish Joe Soto via calf slicer". MMAjunkie. 2017-12-02. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  27. ^ "Local star, Iuri Marajó faces American Joe Soto at UFC Belem" (in Portuguese). 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2017-12-21. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ John Morgan (2018-01-31). "Joe Soto to fight out contract at UFC-Belem, aims to continue octagon run".
  29. ^ "UFC Fight Night 125 results: Iuri Alcantara stuns, swarms Joe Soto for 66-second win". MMAjunkie. 2018-02-04. Retrieved 2018-02-04.
  30. ^ "UFC releases one-time bantamweight title challenger Joe Soto". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2018-08-28.

External links[edit]

New championship 1st Bellator Featherweight Championship
June 6, 2009 - September 2, 2010
Succeeded by
Joe Warren