In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 77 this past Saturday, one of the top rising welterweight contenders had his opportunity to shine. Jack Della Maddalena (15-2) got his wish and was able to fight in the co-main event as he took on promotional newcomer Bassil Hafez (8-4-1).
Della Maddalena was originally supposed to fight at International Fight Week taking on fellow ranked contender Sean Brady. However, Brady ended up suffering an injury and had to pull out of the fight. The UFC quickly found Josiah Harrell to replace him.
Both Della Maddalena and Harrell made weight for the fight last weekend. However, a pre-fight medical check found a serious condition with Harrell and he was not cleared to fight. Della Maddalena was adamant about staying in Vegas and getting a fight. The promotion found Bassil Hafez and made the fight for UFC Vegas 77.
It was a very dangerous fight for Della Maddalena to take. Two weight cuts in back-to-back weeks with an opponent who was a relative unknown. However, an opponent who had a reputation of being an extremely tough guy with a tough skillset. That showed on Saturday night.
Della Maddalena had never gone beyond the first round in his UFC career. However, Hafez took him there. In fact, he took him the distance. Della Maddalena had success on the feet, but Hafez got the fight to the ground a lot and held his own in the striking.
He definitely won the first round and the second could’ve gone either way. Della Maddalena landed huge shots on the feet and hurt Hafez, however, Hafez got a takedown and controlled the final minute of the round with his wrestling. The third round was pretty much all Della Maddalena who almost got a finish.
When the scores were being read, I honestly thought it could go either way. However, I had a hunch that Della Maddalena would squeak it out. In the end, two of the three judges gave the fight to JDM and he won his fifth straight UFC fight.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 77?
This was an extremely dangerous fight for Della Maddalena and he almost lost all his hype and his ranking. His hype definitely has some steam taken away because of what Hafez was able to do to him. 4-0 with four first round finishes and now he went the distance with a guy who wasn’t in the promotion and there’s many who probably thought he lost.
That said, he still officially won and now he’s 5-0 in the UFC. So, where should he go from here? Della Maddalena said after the fight he would love to fight Sean Brady in Australia when the promotion returns there in September. If Brady can go, I think it’s a great fight.
It was already supposed to happen and I don’t think this win moves Della Maddalena up the rankings. I think he stays put and nothing changes. With that, it makes all the sense in the world to rebook the fight that was supposed to happen in the first place.