Joe Soto

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Joe Soto
Born (1987-03-22) March 22, 1987 (age 28)
Porterville, California, United States
Other names One Bad Mofo,
The Hammer (formerly)
Residence Santa Rosa, California, United States
Nationality American
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)[1]
Weight 135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)
Division Featherweight (formerly),
Reach 65.0 in (165 cm)[1]
Fighting out of Santa Rosa, California, United States
Team Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance
Rank Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Terrell[2]
Years active 2006–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 19
Wins 15
By knockout 5
By submission 8
By decision 2
Losses 4
By knockout 3
By submission 1
Notable school(s) Iowa Central Community College
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Joseph Angel Soto (born March 22, 1987 in Porterville, California) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. A professional competitor since 2006, Soto has also formerly competed for Bellator where he was the first Bellator Featherweight Champion and winner of their inaugural Featherweight Tournament.


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.[4] Soto got an athletic scholarship to Iowa Central Community College. 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]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • National High School Coaches Association
    • NHSCA Senior All-American (2005)

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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 punch) UFC 177 August 30, 2014 5 2:20 Sacramento, California, United States For 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 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 (guillotine 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
Loss 9–2 Eddie Yagin Submission (guillotine choke) Tachi Palace Fights 10 August 5, 2011 1 2:00 Lemoore, California, United States For 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 Bellator Featherweight 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 Bellator Featherweight 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. 
  2. ^ "Joe Soto - Official UFC Fighter Profile". Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Porterville High Alum Joe Soto". Retrieved Aug 12, 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "". Retrieved December 1, 2009. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "". 
  11. ^ "". 
  12. ^ Thomas Gerbasi (2014-08-12). "Soto-Birchak completes UFC 177 card.". Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  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. 
  16. ^ Damon Martin (2015-06-06). "Anthony Birchak face plants Joe Soto with crushing first-round KO". Retrieved 2015-06-06. 

External links[edit]

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