Impressive first round Contender Series finish earns Hawaii’s Maki Pitolo a UFC contract

Sports

Maki Pitolo // ESPN+

Nanakuli’s Maki Pitolo made the most of his opportunity in Las Vegas on Tuesday night with a first-round finish on Dana White’s Contender Series earning a UFC contract following an impressive first round finish.

Pitolo (12-4) used a flurry of devastating punches to the body to earn the victory over Justin Sumter (7-3) at 1:37 of the opening round.

Following the card, UFC President Dana White announced that Pitolo was selected as one of the fighters to earn a contract into the premier organization of mixed martial arts.

Pitolo, a longtime training partner and teammate of UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and welterweight Yancy Medeiros moved up in weight-class for the fight from welterweight to middleweight.

The victory now gives Pitolo three consecutive victories.

Prior to Tuesday’s win, Pitolo was coming off of the what was then considered the biggest victory of his career, when he submitted Chris Cisneros at Bellator 213 in Honolulu this past December.

Two weeks ago, Waialua’s Punahele Soriano earned a UFC contract after defeating Jamie Pickett (7-5) by unanimous decision in the main event of the series premier for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

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