Julian Marquez left it late to find a finish in his comeback fight tonight at UFC 258, submitting Maki Pitolo in the final minute of the bout.
Hard leg kick from Pitolo to start and then more powerful body kicks and an uppercut as he immediately brings the action to the returning Marquez.
Pitolo clinching up against the cage now. He lands some hard punches as Marquez covers up. Marquez tries to fire back, but then Pitolo changes things up by taking him down.
Pitolo in half-guard and taking his time now as he opts for control rather than offense. Marquez trying to squirm his way out, but for now Pitolo keeps him grounded.
Marquez to his knees and Pitolo moves around to the back as he stands. Trip from Pitolo, but Marquez immediately gets back up. Marquez facing Pitolo now, but still having to defend the takedown attempts.
Marquez almost manages a hip toss, but then transitions to a guillotine choke instead. It looked tight for a moment, but Pitolo manages to escape and remains in the clinch. He lands a couple of knees to the midsection.
They break apart for a moment and Marquez lands two big hooks that definitely got Pitolo’s attention as the round is drawing to a close.
Body kick for Pitolo as Marquez feels out with punches. Leg kick for him now. Marquez swiping at him. He does lands a couple of punches. Pitolo with a punch too. Now Pitolo tries a head kick. Marquez with a kick, but it grazes the groin and forces a brief stoppage.
They start again with both men landing big shots. Head kick attempt from Marquez. Pitolo looking for a takedown against the cage now. He manages to land it. Marquez to his knees and stands back up. Pitolo drags him to the mat and Marquez is straight back up again.
Pitolo with the back clinch. He lands strikes and then tries for a takedown. Marquez with a guillotine attempt as Pitolo is on his knees trying to survive. Pitolo survives that attempt, but then Marquez resecures the choke. Pitolo manages to manoeuvre his way out of that bad spot.
Marquez tries to take his back, but slips off and Pitolo gets back on top. Good work from Pitolo as he secures full mount and lands some body punches.
Marquez able to get Pitolo back to his half-guard. Pitolo looking to tie up an arm here, but Marquez starts landing elbows as the round ends.
Calf kick for Pitolo. Right hgand lands for Marquez. He throws more winging blows. Another impact for him. Pitolo with a jab. Now a hook for him.
Low kick for Pitolo and Marquez’s leg buckles for a moment. Heavy right hand for Marquez. Now a left for Pitolo.
Both fighters land. Kick for Marquez and now a spinning elbow that connects cleanly. Knee for Marquez upstairs. Pitolo might be wilting a bit from these damaging blows.
Pitolo closes the distance but leaves his neck out and Marquez tries to seize on a guillotine choke, but he slips out of that as they drop to the mat.
Pitolo now returning the favor as he goes for the choke. Marquez able to escape and tries to look for the neck again himself.
They stand back up now. Both men tired, but digging deep. Pitolo clinches up against the cage. Marquez able to turn to his back, but then opts to go back to striking instead.
Marquez landing big punches and a huge knee as Pitolo looks on the verge of being stopped against the cage. In desperation Pitolo goes for a takedown, but that just gives Marquez another opportunity to try for the guillotine and it looks tight. He changes to an anaconda choke and Pitolo is forced to tap with only 43 seconds of the fight remaining!
That’s a big blow for Pitolo, who looked to be on his way to a decision victory up to that point, but all credit to ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’, who showed great determination to find a finish in the final round in his comeback fight after a two-and-a-half year injury layoff.