Maki Pitolo vs. Julian Marquez
Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 10:00 PM (UFC APEX)
The Line Julian Marquez -170 / Maki Pitolo +145 — Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
Maki Pitolo and Julian Marquez fight Saturday in UFC 258 at the UFC Apex.
Maki Pitolo enters this fight with a 13-7 record and has won 54 percent of his fights by knockout. Pitolo has lost three of his last four fights and is coming off an August loss to Impa Kasanganay. Pitolo is averaging 4.87 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Pitolo is averaging 1.45 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 66 percent. Pitolo is coming off a decision loss at UFC Vegas 8 where he landed 72 total strikes and 41 percent of his significant strikes. Pitolo has now lost back-to-back fights and is 2-3 under the UFC banner. Pitolo clearly comes from a boxing background, as he has a come forward style and throws combination after combination until he overwhelms his opponent. Ground and pound, hooks to body and a strong jab, Pitolo is nice with his hands and has seven career knockouts. Pitolo has also shown some takedown success as of late, and he had a submission victory at Bellator 213, so there’s some balance to his attack. Still, Pitolo butters his bread with his standup and letting his hands go. This will be Pitolo’s fifth career fight in Las Vegas.
Julian Marquez enters this fight with a 7-2 record and has won 86 percent of his fights by knockout. Marquez has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a July (2018) loss to Alessio Di Chirico. Marquez is averaging 3.80 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Marquez is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Marquez hasn’t fought since The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale more than two years ago, 31 months to be exact, where he suffered a split decision loss. Marquez has been dealing with a shoulder injury since that fight, an issue that doctors said his career may be finished. With a 2-1 record under the UFC banner, Marquez makes his return to the octagon at 30 years old. Marquez comes from a wrestling background and has a submission victory over Darren Stewart, but he’s a striker at heart who pressures with power combinations and has a proven chin. Marquez is huge for the middleweight division and what he lacks in speed, he makes up with in power and a come forward style that’s hard for most to keep up with. Marquez has the ability to carve out a name for himself, but it’s going to be interesting to see what his past injury and the time away did in terms of rust.
There’s value with Pitolo when you consider he’s been in the octagon recently and the more active fighter should have an edge over somebody who has been out of the sport for more than two years. Marquez has a bit to prove after such a long layoff and usually I don’t back fighters who have been gone for a while. However, Pitolo hasn’t been all that impressive through five UFC fights and has taken more damage than you’d like. This is a comfortable return fight for Marquez, who should get the style bout he wants, and I’m more confident in him landing something eventually and turning this fight on its head.
I’ll back Marquez and lay the juice.