Mike “Proper” Malott, 31, is a Team Alpha Male coach turned UFC fighter. As a pro, Malott is 8-1-1 with four knockout and four submission wins. His sole loss was a knockout loss to Hakeem Dawodu in WSOF in 2014. The only time Malott has had a fight go longer than 5 minutes, it ended in a draw. Yohan “White Lion” Lainesse, 30, is 9-1 as a professional and is 1-1 in the UFC following a DWCS win in 2021. Lainesse was knocked out in his debut but he followed it up with a split-decision win his last time out.
Malott and Lainessee will go head-to-head at UFC Vegas 70 this weekend.
Malott’s odds have remained steady throughout the week, currently sitting at his opening number.
Malott being a coach speaks to his well-rounded and intelligent fight style in the octagon; yet, interestingly, all but one of his fights have ended inside of the first five minutes.
Malott moves smoothly on the feet, has fairly solid wrestling, switches stances well, and lands good counter combinations. However, he looks a step slow in the cage, his smooth movement reduces once he’s pressured, and can telegraph his combinations in the pocket. Against a poor striker, he was hit clean a few times before he responded with a heavy hook of his own for the knockout finish. Malott has a skillset that allows him to respond to most fighters. If an opponent has a striking gap, Malott can counter with power. If an opponent has a wrestling gap, Malott can drag him down and find a finish on the mat. But, against athleticism, strength, or talent, Malott is likely to struggle. His hands are slower than many UFC caliber fighters, his wrestling is fundamental but not strong, and his gas tank is unproven, and his smooth stance switch movement is only utilized early in the round when he’s feeling his opponent out. He is a well-schooled fighter with limited upside and questionable cardio.
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Lainesse is the polar opposite of Malott. Lainesse has heavy hands but tends to primarily kick from range, has decent at best striking technique, and sacrifices fundamental defense in favor of his explosive offense. Typically, Lainesse looks dangerous in round 1 when he has the energy for his explosive and powerful movements.
He likes to stand at his kick range while he throws lazy and naked kicks that push his opponent back more than deal damage. Then, he’ll suddenly rush in with an overhand right or a takedown attempt. Because of his size and propensity to kick, opponents are often stuck out of range and are forced to blitz in. When this happens, Lainesse can land a powerful counter combination.
After the first round, Lainesse struggles to find similar success because he doesn’t have the gas tank for big movements and his lack of technique leaves him exposed and lost. In round 1, though, Lainesse carries legitimate power and looks for the finish for 5 minutes. Beyond his 5 minutes of dangerous striking, Lainesse is a decent wrestler who is able to use his strength to keep the fight standing and land his own takedowns at the end of rounds. However, in cases where he is the one taken down, Lainesee struggles to grapple his way out of bad positioning. Just like his striking, if Lainesse has the cardio to land takedowns, he does so successfully. But, when he gasses out, he ends up in the clinch.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Considering both men are largely untested, both are heavy-handed strikers, and both have issues getting hit, my best bet is under 1.5 rounds. I anticipate a fun brawl for as long as it lasts. I also like Lainesse by knockout because of the generous odds.
Lainesse’s best path to victory is by knockout, he looks to take off the head of his opponent often, and Malott got clipped against another large opponent last fight. +400 is too juicy to pass up considering I think this is going to be a slugfest.