Mike Malott submits Yohan Lainesse in all-Canadian UFC welterweight matchup
LAS VEGAS — (Proper) Mike Malott submitted Yohan (White Lion) Lainesse in an all-Canadian welterweight matchup on a UFC Fight Night card Saturday.
Malott took Lainesse down and improved his position until he was able to lock in an arm-triangle choke, forcing Lainesse to tap at four minutes 15 seconds of the first round.
"I've got a ton of respect for Yohan," said Malott. "We're friends. We've trained together before. I hope we can train together again.
"It's unfortunate we had to have two Canadians duke it out. But I hope that showed high-level Canadian MMA and what Canada can be all about."
With just 14 Canadian-born fighters on an active roster of more than 600, all-Canadian bouts are rare these days.
Malott also urged the UFC to return to Canada. The promotion has not held a Canadian show since September 2019 in Vancouver.
Earlier, Canadian flyweight Jasmine Jasudavicius (8-2-0) won a unanimous 30-26 decision over Brazil's Gabriella Fernandes (8-2-0).
Malott and Jasudavicius both train at Niagara Top Team in St. Catharines, Ont.
The main event at the UFC's Apex production facility pitted Ukraine light-heavyweight Nikita (The Miner) Krylov, ranked sixth among 205-pound contenders, against No. 8 American Ryan (Superman) Spann.
Malott (9-1-1) and Lainesse (9-2-0) sparred once briefly ahead of their UFC debuts last April and were supposed to meet in a Cage Fury Fighting Championships before the UFC.
All nine of Malott's wins have came in the first round.
Only one of Malott's 11 fights had gone beyond the first round — he fought France's Thomas Diagne to a majority draw in Bellator action in September 2015. Malott's other nine fights have lasted a combined 15 minutes seven seconds.
The 31-year-old Malott earned his UFC contract with a 39-second submission of Israel's Shimon (Assassin) Smotritsky on "Dana White's Contender Series" in October 2021.
He also wasted little time taking care of business in his UFC debut at UFC 273, dropping Mickey Gall with a left hook to the jaw for a TKO win at 3:41 of the first round.
Lainesse also won his way into the UFC with a 97-second knockout of England's Justin Burlinson on the Contender Series in November 2021. The 30-year-old from Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Que., bounced back from a TKO loss in his UFC debut to (Gifted) Gabriel Green in April by earning a split decision over Darian Weeks in September at UFC 279.
In addition to the 14 Canadian-born athletes on the roster, there are also two fighters — Diana (Warrior Princess) Belbita and Lupita (Loopy) Godinez — who live and train in Canada but were born elsewhere. Belbita is from Romania originally while Godinez is from Mexico.
Malott, who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, isn't the only athlete in his family.
Younger brother Jeff has 17 goals and 10 assists in 49 games with the AHL Manitoba Moose this season. The six-foot-four 204 pounder made his NHL regular-season debut in March 2022 in a 6-4 win at Chicago.
Jasudavicius divided her training camp between her home gym and American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla.
The 33-year-old from St. Catharines was originally slated to face Cortney (Cast Iron) Casey but the American dropped out in late January due to an undisclosed medical reason.
Jasudavicius lost a decision to Brazil's Natalia Silva last time out in June after winning a unanimous decision over American Kay Hansen in January 2022 at UFC 270.
Jasudavicius came late to MMA but has moved quickly since.
She started MMA at 26 through boyfriend Chris Prickett, who co-founded Niagara Top Team in 2019 with Matt DiMarcantonio.
She made her pro debut at 30, choking out Brigid (Khan) Chase in July 2019 on a World Fighting Championship card in Pittsburgh.
Jasudavicius won her first four pro fights before losing a split decision to American Elise Reed in August 2020. One win later, she was on the Contender Series in September 2021 when she won her UFC contract with a unanimous 29-27 decision over Brazil's Julia Polastri.
Before turning to MMA, Jasudavicius worked at a homeless shelter for youth aged 16 to 24.
The 29-year-old Fernandes had won seven straight ahead of her UFC debut. She earned the interim Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) flyweight title in September, submitting Karoline Martins via a second-round guillotine choke at LFA 143 in Recife, Brazil.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2023.
The Canadian Press