Maki Pitolo wants to prove his worth at 185 pounds

Maki Pitolo wants to prove his worth at 185 pounds

LAS VEGAS —Maki Pitolo is keen to show that he can hang at 185 pounds.

Former welterweight campaigner Pitolo (13-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) punched his ticket to the UFC on “Dana White’s Contender Series” as a middleweight and said he has no intention of dropping back down to 170 pounds.

He might be a smaller middleweight, but Pitolo is confident that he can find success in his new weight class, which started out with second-round finish over Charles Byrd at UFC 250.

Pitolo faces Darren Stewart (11-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 32, where he’ll look to continue his momentum and send a message to the rest of the division.

“I wanted a bigger guy, I wanted to have a serious opponent that will potentially wake up the middleweight division and let them know I mean business,” Pitolo told reporters at Thursday’s UFC on ESPN+ 32 virtual media day. “A lot of people are thinking I should bounce back and forth between welterweight and middleweight, but this is where I got my contract, this is where I mean business and this is where I want to be.”

With all but two of his pro career wins coming by finish, “Coconut Bombz” is approaching this fight the same way he always does, with fight-ending intentions.

“He’s a strong opponent, he’s a very dangerous guy, and I’m a very dangerous guy, so we’re gonna go in there, we’re dogs,” Pitolo said. “I’m gonna go in there and throw down and do what I do best, look for the opportunity to finish at every aspect of the game, and I know my confidence and what I’ve done in this camp will prevail.”

UFC on ESPN+32 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streams on ESPN+.

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