Following last night’s UFC On ESPN 49 event in Las Vegas the recipients of the evening’s $50,000 bonus awards were announced.
After having won all four of his UFC fights inside the opening round Jack Della Maddalena was an overwhelming favorite to beat short-notice newcomer Bassil Hafez in the co-main event sooner rather than later, yet he ended up in a three-round back-and-forth battle instead.
Hafez gave a great account of himself by frequently working for takedowns and spells of control on the mat, while also showcasing a good chin and willingness to fire back with his own strikes when Maddalena unleashed his trademark flurries to the body and head.
Maddalena showed sound defensive skills on the mat though to avoid getting into trouble and work back to his feet, and as the fight went on his hard-hitting strikes began to take their toll. That was particularly evident in the final round where extended barrages against the cage threatened to end the fight, but Hafez survived to take the fight to the judges, leading to Maddalena only narrowly emerging victorious via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).
Two ‘Performance Of The Night’ bonuses were handed out on the night and one went to main event winner Mayra Bueno Silva, who swiftly punished Holly Holm for attempting to go for a takedown against the cage early in the second round by locking in a rarely utilized standing ninja choke that Holm couldn’t escape, leading to her tapping out.
The other performance bonus went to the 21-year-old Francisco Prado, who claimed his first UFC win when he dropped Ottman Azaitar with a big spinning elbow late in the first round and followed up with heavy ground-and-pound to seal the TKO stoppage.