Jack Della Maddalena Narrowly Beats Bassil Hafez By Split Decision At UFC On ESPN 49

Jack Della Maddalena was a huge favorite tonight at UFC On ESPN 49 against short-notice newcomer Basil Hafez, but found himself in a very hard-fought battle to narrowly eek out a split-decision victory.

Round One:

Hafez immediately goes for a takedown, hoists Maddalena up and gets him down. Maddalena looking for a guillotine choke, but it’s not going to pay off for him.

Maddalena standing and then tries to throw Hafez, but his opponent stops it. More clinch work from Hafez now and then they break apart.

Maddalena with a kick. Maddalena in close throwing big punches, but Hafez lands too. Maddalena doubles down on his own offense, only for Hafez to bring him to the mat again.

Hafez moves to side control here. Maddalena does well to get back to his feet. Hard right hand from Maddalena. More punches, but Hafez swings back wildly in return. Hafez into the clinch now looking for another takedown. The attempt stalls though and eventually they go back to striking range.

Maddalena pressures and unleashes a combination to the body and head, but does get caught with punches in return too.

Yet again Hafez nicely works a takedown and avoids getting into a spot where Maddalena’s guillotine choke could threaten him. Now Hafez looking to set up an arm triangle attempt, but Maddalena seems ok and rides out the remaining seconds of the round.

Round Two:

So Maddalena is getting a taste of 2nd round action for the first time in his UFC run so far.

Hafez in on a takedown straight away and Maddalena goes down, then pops right back up immediately.

Back to the center of the Octagon looking for strikes now. Maddalena avoids a takedown attempt. Brief exchange of punches.

Maddalena looking to overpower him with his offense, but Hafez continues to land some of his own punches too and so Maddalena really has to be mindful of his defense in these exchanges.

Hafez in on another takedown attempt and Maddalena defends it this time. Hafez settles for the clinch against the cage.

They go back to striking. Maddalena backing Hafez up to the cage and then unleashes a good series of punches to the body and Hafez didn’t like that and takes a deep breath with his back to the cage.

However, Hafez is able to break his momentum by working another takedown. ow he’s looking to improve from half-guard here. Hafez traps an arm and drops down a few shoulder strikes in the final seconds of the round.

Round Three:

Missed high kick from Hafez. Punch for Maddalena and Hafez lands a good counter. More punches from Maddalena and Hafez tries for a takedown that doesn’t work out.

Maddalena looks for more punches, but Hafez drives into a takedown across the Octagon. Maddalena stays upright though and soon gets back to striking range.

Maddalena wants to work, but again Hafez goes for a takedown, though it’s stuffed.

Maddalena with a hard left hook that wobbled Hafez for a moment. Another punch lands. Hafez may finally be starting to wilt. Maddalena landing several more big hooks as Hafez is backed up against the cage. He reaches in desperation for a takedown, but doesn’t have the gas to finish it.

Rinse and repeat as Maddalena strikes and Hafez counters with a failed takedown. Now Maddalena uses a stuffed takedown to get on top. He takes Hafez back, but Hafez does well to secure a reversal. Maddalena working hard to get back to his feet and manages to do so.

Hafez in on a takedown against the cage, but Maddalena uses a kimura to end up on top.


A great fight here with the late replacement Hafez giving a great account of himself in his promotional debut as he withstood Maddalena’s hard-hitting strikes and gave him constant problems on the mat.

It’s enough to take the fight to a split-decision verdict, but in the end Maddalena’s more damaging blows on the feet during the three-rounder swing the fight in his favor in two of the judges eyes (29-28 x2, 28-29) and he emerges with a win that proved to be far harder to get than had been predicted.

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