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Mike Malott reacts after his submission victory over Yohan Lainesse of Canada in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 25, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Mike Malott Climbing The Ladder

Rising Prospect Mike Malott Looks To Break Into The Welterweight Rankings By Collecting A Victory On Home Soil At UFC 297.

With the UFC set to open its pay-per-view calendar in Toronto, Canada, Canadian Mike Malott will surely have plenty of eyes on him.

The surging 32-year-old entered the UFC at full speed since first appearing on season 5 of Dana White’s Contender Series, where it only took him 39 seconds to secure a guillotine submission and claim his UFC contract. Since then, Malott has managed to keep his record squeaky clean in the promotion, going 3-0 in his first three trips to the Octagon.

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Proper” last hit the Octagon at UFC 289 in Vancouver, Canada, where he managed to steal the show with a second-round submission over Adam Fugitt that completed a clean sweep for Canadians on the card. 

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“That experience was absolutely incredible. I knew there would be a warm reception from Canadian fans in general just because they are so hardcore into the UFC, but honestly, I didn’t think I’d have the recognition that I did last time,” said Malott. “I got completely spoiled after that fight. I was like, I don’t want to fight anywhere but Canada, given the option. I always want to fight in Canada, and I think it’s only going to be bigger with this being in Toronto.”

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Malott is ready for another battle in Canada as he now takes on Neil Magny on Saturday’s main card. Magny, who currently sits at No. 13 in the welterweight rankings, is coming off a loss against Ian Machado Garry at UFC 292. However, the UFC veteran holds the record for the most wins in the welterweight division (21), which leads to questions as to whether Magny can defend his Top 15 spot or whether Malott can swoop in and claim it.

“I don’t think [of Neil Magny] much, not that I don’t think anything of him in a disrespectful way, but I focus on myself,” said Malott. “I feel extremely confident going into this. I think I have my points covered everywhere and feel like I’m the most prepared I’ve ever been.”

Mike Malott Gets KO In His UFC Debut | UFC 273: Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie
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Mike Malott Gets KO In His UFC Debut | UFC 273: Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie
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Entering fight week, the rising star seemed to encounter a mix of familiar, yet unique, emotions. The fight week stress is there, but being close to his hometown adds a comforting touch, as well.

UFC 297 Full Fight Card Preview

“The fight week hotel is a little bit tense,” Malott said. "You enter a bit of a lion’s den; there are 20 fighters and a bunch of coaches, and everyone is like, ‘Are we going to be friendly? I’m carb depleted, am I angry?’ You get a bunch of different mixes of feelings and camps and emotions, so it turns on the tension, like a ‘Something’s about to happen’ feeling. But we also get to leave it and go back to my parents’ house, have dinner and morning coffee, and go back to my home, where I feel comfortable and play with my dog.”

Mike Malott punches Adam Fugitt in their welterweight fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Mike Malott punches Adam Fugitt in their welterweight fight during the UFC 289 event at Rogers Arena on June 10, 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

This stands as Malott’s most significant opportunity yet, as this is his shot to break into the welterweight top 15 in only four UFC bouts, all while doing it in less than two years in the promotion. Putting on a big show with a big finish is a good way to shoot up the ladder, and if he manages to walk away with another win against Magny, he might be able to expect a Top 10 opponent in 2024.

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With all that on the line, Malott is keen to make sure he doesn’t force anything come fight night.

“I just go out there and do what I do. I’ve never forced a finish in my life. They seem to come to me because I think I do the right things, and I think I’m really good at capitalizing on mistakes, and I’m good at forcing guys into making bad decisions.”

Mike Malott Fight Week Interview | UFC 297
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Mike Malott Fight Week Interview | UFC 297
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And that he is, with three fights and three finishes in Malott’s UFC career, we also can’t forget that he is a real threat in striking that packs a serious punch.

UFC 297 Main Event Breakdown With Brendan Fitzgerald & Sayif Saud

As he envisions getting his hand raised on Saturday night, Malott expresses a sense of calm when stepping into the cage, grateful for the moment and embracing how far he’s come. From a 14-year-old kid entering a karate gym to a rising star in the UFC, he is eagerly anticipating hitting the canvas and claiming a number next to his name.

“I’m here; It’s gonna be amazing getting this 11th win, 11th stoppage, becoming a ranked (fighter) Saturday, and getting my hand raised.”

Order UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis

UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis took place live from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on January 20, 2024. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass