Coconut Bombz away! Maki Pitolo earned his first win inside the octagon Saturday at UFC 250. The Las Vegas card, in familiar territory at the promotion’s Apex facility, saw Pitolo earn a TKO win over Charles Byrd. It also saw him return to the middleweight division, after dropping to welterweight for his UFC debut.
“I’m super happy. It was everything that we worked for. My hard work paid off today,” Pitolo (13-5) said backstage at the Apex, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
Middleweight will be his home moving forward, the Hawaiian fighter stated. “It felt good. I feel like it’s right where I need to be. I won my contract here, and I feel like this is where I should have made my debut,” he noted.
In the virtual portion of UFC 250’s post-fight interviews, Pitolo described the difference between his debut fight, and successful follow-up on Saturday. “Just a lot of things running through my mind. Was I ready, did I pick the right time, am I in the right phase, am I in the right state of mind? A hundred million questions running through my mind,” he described the lead-up to fighting Byrd.
He had the right people around him, Pitolo added, which allowed him to enter the fight in the right state of mind. He also took some lessons away from his debut loss last year. “Composure. Experience. I had 15 minutes on my debut,” he pointed out.
The state of the world ahead of UFC 250 is unlike anything this generation has ever experienced. A global pandemic. The worst civil unrest in America in decades. Asked if that was any distraction, Pitolo replied by saying “it was no distraction to me. When I have a fight, I’m fully focused on the fight, and the fight solely.”
However, he ended things with a positive message. “I just want to say, I’m from an island, Hawaii. We need more Aloha, guys, less hate out there.”