A very fun looking middleweight bout featured on the UFC 258 PPV card on Saturday night. That fight saw the long-awaited return of the “Cuban Missile Crisis” Julian Marquez. While he hadn’t quite been out of action since the 1960s, a long 30-month spell on the sidelines was finally coming to a close. In his return, Marquez was up against a fighter known for throwing “Coconut Bombz” — Maki Pitolo.
Maki Pitolo came out with a series of kicks and an uppercut that backed the returning Marquez into the cage. Pitolo worked the clinch and landed a series of knees and elbows before he dropped levels and landed the take down. “Coconut Bombz” worked from the half guard of Marquez. Marquez defended and worked against the cage to get back to his feet but Pitolo stuck with him and kept him grounded. Marquez gave up his back as he got to a knee and eventually made it back to his feet, but Pitolo kept the on body and sent him back to the mat— only for Marquez to pop right back to his feet again. Marquez used the cage to improve his position and work for the under hooks before he spun Pitolo around and got a front guillotine that looked pretty tight. Pitolo defended and escaped. Marquez on the break landed a big right hand that found the mark as the round came to an end.
Pitolo had unquestionably found some success with his takedowns in that first round. Both men came out quickly in the second, this time with Marquez pressing forward. Pitolo used his movement to slide out of range but Marquez kept moving forward and looked to land. A short stoppage for an inadvertent low blow halted the action, but soon enough both men were back at it.
With the action resuming, Marquez threw wildly and Pitolo spun to take his back and press him into the cage before Pitolo took him to the ground. Marquez worked back to his feet but Pitolo again took him to the ground. Marquez got back to his feet for a moment before Pitolo went for the take down once more. Marquez defended and locked in a guillotine that Pitolo escaped, but Marquez was able to secure the choke moments later then moved to strikes on a downed Pitolo. Pitolo was able to break free and and take Marquez to the ground again. Pitolo worked from half guard and kept busy with strikes to the body and head of Marquez. Marquez fired back from the bottom and that was the end of round two.
Pitolo struck first in the third round, scoring with a leg kick. That led Marquez to charge forward and throw with power, but Pitolo again used his moment to move out of range of most Marquez’s strikes. Pitolo then nearly dropped Marquez with a leg kick, only for Marquez to hurt Pitolo with a hard right. The pair continued to exchange and Marquez piled the damage onto Pitolo with elbows, knees and that right hand. Pitolo recovered, and shot for the take down but Marquez reversed it for a moment before Pitolo got on top and again worked to land on Marquez. Marquez escaped and the two again exchanged on the feet, Marquez got the better of the exchange and looked to have badly hurt Pitolo with a knee that forced Pitolo to launch a desperation take down attempt— one that Marquez turned into an Anaconda choke that forced the tap from Pitolo.
🚀 @JMarquezMMA completes the 2.5 year comeback!
— UFC (@ufc) February 14, 2021
Following the bout, speaking to Joe Rogan, Marquez called out… Miley Cyrus, to be his valentine.
Official Result: Julian Marquez def. Maki Pitolo by Submission (Anaconda Choke), Round 3, 4:17