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Jack Della Maddalena secures hard-fought victory at UFC Vegas 77

Australian welterweight fighter Jack Della Maddalena faced his toughest challenge yet in the UFC, narrowly securing a split decision victory over newcomer Bassil Hafez at UFC on ESPN 49 in Las Vegas. Despite being the heavy sportsbook favourite, Della Maddalena had to work hard against Hafez, who stepped up on short notice.

Known for his knockout power, Della Maddalena had won all his previous UFC fights in the first round. However, Hafez surprised him by dominating the first round with three takedowns. In the second round, Della Maddalena showcased his boxing skills, particularly his body work. Hafez managed a late takedown but couldn’t do much in terms of offense.

The third round saw Della Maddalena’s striking prowess shine once again, although Hafez’s wrestling kept him in the fight. Ultimately, Della Maddalena did enough to secure the victory on two judges’ scorecards.

With this win, Della Maddalena’s record improves to 15-2, and he maintains his ranking in the welterweight division. He acknowledged Hafez’s efforts as a late replacement opponent and admitted he might have been fortunate to receive the decision.

The fight with Hafez came after a series of opponent changes for Della Maddalena. Originally set to face Sean Brady at UFC 290, he faced setbacks when Brady withdrew due to an infected elbow, and potential replacement Josiah Harrell failed a pre-fight medical examination. Finally, the opportunity to fight Hafez at UFC Apex emerged, even though Della Maddalena had to cut weight twice within a week.

Despite the challenges, Della Maddalena expressed his readiness to continue fighting and mentioned his desire for a quick turnaround, which would line up perfectly for UFC 293 in Sydney on September 9.

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