At UFC Vegas 8 on Saturday night, Hawaii’s Maki Pitolo will be fighting for the second time this month.
Not to mention for the third time during the pandemic. That’s quite the pace, but it’s the byproduct of both pandemic era MMA, which has created more opportunities for fighters to stay busy, with many names stuck at home, plus Hawaii’s fighting spirit.
Pitolo, in fact, was supposed to fight a week ago, but his bout with Impa Kasanganay was pushed back all of seven days.
“The timing was always perfect,” Pitolo told Cageside Press during the UFC Vegas 8 media day this week, noting that although he suffered a loss in his last fight, to Darren Stewart, he came out of it injury free.
“I’m ready all the time. If I come out of my fights unscathed, let’s go to the next one,” he said regarding his mindset. The extra seven days just gave him more time for recovery and training.
As for the Stewart loss, well, you win or you learn, and Pitolo did learn some important lessons from it. “If you take a loss, you’ve got to learn from it. Took a lot from that one, even though it was in such a short time,” he said. That includes buckling down on his footwork, and “in the submission, I should have been fighting it the right way.”
“I’m ready to make the turnaround and correct my mistakes, if it goes there,” added Pitolo.
The brisk pace of fighting during the pandemic has become almost commonplace for the Hawaiian. “Fighting is what I do, fighting is what I love. If I can fight every week, I would. This is what I love to do,” said Pitolo. “Making quick turnarounds, these are rare opportunities that a lot of people don’t have a chance to do, and I’m taking full advantage of it.”
Opponent Impa Kasanganay is jumping on a similar opportunity. He fought on Dana White’s Contender Series earlier this month. His willingness to make a short turnaround helped earn him a UFC deal.
“He’s undefeated, he’s a focused guy, he won a contract, and he’s making a quick turnaround also. So I’m sure he’s excited to make a statement,” observed Pitolo, “and I’m excited to make a statement against him.” Expect fireworks, he added.
Despite coming into the fight off a loss, and being 1-2 inside the octagon overall, Maki Pitolo is still looking to put on a show.
“‘Coconut Bombz,’ I didn’t get the name for no reason, brother. I’m looking to provide, I’m looking to entertain, and these are rare times,” he told the media. “These are times when there’s no NBA, no NFL. There’s a lot of negative going on around the world. So if I can just give a little smile, give a little cheer, jump off the seat, that’s what I want. That’s exactly what I want when I fight, and I feel like I bring that every single time I come to the cage.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 8 virtual media day press scrum with Maki Pitolo above.