UFC Fight Night Report: Mayra Bueno Silva submits Holly Holm in the second round
On Saturday night, the UFC held a Fight Night event from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a bout in the bantamweight champion, as the division’s former champion, Holly Holm, attempted to defend her third-ranked spot in the bantamweight rankings against Mayra Bueno Silva. Bueno Silva is a strong grappler, with four submission victories to her name since her UFC debut in 2018, but Holm would mark her toughest test to date, given the strong wrestling defense that Holm has developed over the years. With Amanda Nunes vacating the division’s championship, this could very well be a fight that determines one-half of the next title fight at 135lbs, and both fighters were certainly aware of that fact heading into this main event bout. This card also featured Jack Della Maddalena facing off against the debuting Bassil Hafez on very short notice, after Della Maddalena’s bout at UFC 290 fell apart on fight week after weigh-ins.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Daniel Cormier, and Dominick Cruz. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Francisco Prado and Mayra Bueno Silva. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Jack Della Maddalena and Bassil Hafez.
- Ailin Perez def. Ashlee Evans-Smith by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
- Alexander Munoz def. Carl Deaton by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Azat Maksum def. Tyson Nam by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Evan Elder def. Genaro Valdez by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
- Melquizael Costa def. Austin Lingo by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Victoria Dudakova def. Istela Nunes by TKO at 0:34 of Round 1
- Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Tucker Lutz by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
- Nazim Sadykhov def. Terrance McKinney by rear naked choke at 1:07 of Round 2
- Norma Dumont def. Chelsea Chandler by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Jun Yong Park def. Albert Duraev by rear naked choke at 4:45 of Round 2
- Francisco Prado def. Ottman Azaitar by TKO at 4:05 of Round 1
- Jack Della Maddalena def. Bassil Hafez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Mayra Bueno Silva def. Holly Holm by ninja choke at 0:38 of Round 2
ASHLEE EVANS-SMITH (6-5, 135.5) VS AILIN PEREZ (7-2, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Perez opened up with a strong combination of strikes, before taking Evans-Smith down with over four minutes to work. Perez postured up and began to throw down ground and pound shots as she attempted to finish the fight quickly, and while she was unable to secure the finish here, Perez certainly did significant damage. Evans-Smith made it back to her feet briefly, but she was immediately taken back down by Perez, who continued to put a beating on Evans-Smith as the round progressed. In the round’s final minute, Evans-Smith escaped to her feet once more, ending the round on her feet. 10-8 Perez.
Perez wasted little time in returning Evans-Smith to the ground in the second round, where she attempted to take the back of Evans-Smith. This allowed Evans-Smith to return to her feet, but much like the first round, she was immediately taken back to the ground, where Perez continued to dominate the fight. Perez was trying to set up an arm triangle from side control but eventually opted to just start throwing hammerfists at Evans-Smith’s back. Evans-Smith escaped to her feet towards the end of the round yet again, but as unable to make anything happen before time expired. 20-16 Perez.
Perez took Evans-Smith right back to the ground at the start of the final round. At one point, Perez had Evans-Smith trapped in the crucifix position, where Perez landed a number of punches before Evans-Smith escaped the position. This round was nearly identical to the previous two rounds, with Perez dominating the vast majority of the round on the ground, where she would land solid ground and pound strikes before Evans-Smith would briefly return to her feet (before being returned to the ground). In the end, the fight went the distance, and I scored the fight 30-25 for Perez.
WINNER: Ailin Perez by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Perez recorded ten takedowns throughout this fight, which set a new record for the women’s bantamweight division. This was about as one-sided of a fight as you will see in the sport, as Perez just dominated this fight from beginning to end, with very few moments of success for Evans-Smith throughout. While Evans-Smith was in good shape and showcased a great deal of heart, the skill difference between the two was insurmountable for Evans-Smith, and there was never truly a point in which she was able to make this bout a competitive one. Perez is now 1-1 in the UFC following this win, and she called out Tamires Vidal in her post-fight interview.
ALEX MUNOZ (6-2, 155.5) VS CARL DEATON (17-6, 2 NC, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
An elbow from Munoz caught Deaton on his way in, backing Deaton up early in the fight. Neither fighter was terribly active throughout the first round, but the big moments were coming from Munoz, who tagged Deaton with a hard overhand right later in the round that generated a notable reaction from Deaton. This was one of the slower rounds that you will see in the sport, but I gave the round to Munoz due to the immediate impact of the few strikes in which he landed. 10-9 Munoz.
A straight left hand from Munoz seemed to catch Deaton off balance at the start of the second round. Deaton connected with a right hand that opened up a cut near the left eye of Munoz. Much like the previous round, offensive activity was a problem for both fighters, especially Munoz, who felt as though he was behind on the strike count. Still, Munoz was landing the more damaging shots, and while they were not plentiful, they were arguably enough to win the round despite Deaton’s edge in activity. 20-18 Munoz.
Munoz immediately dropped Deaton with a left hand at the start of round three, and he followed Deaton to the ground as he attempted to end the fight with ground-and-pound strikes. Deaton survived Munoz’s flurry, but he was now officially behind in this round, and with the first two rounds being as close as they were, Deaton desperately needed to create some offense for himself in order to win this fight. Munoz was able to utilize his wrestling to control Deaton on the ground for the majority of the round, and when Deaton finally escaped to his feet, he was unable to generate that much-needed offensive flurry, losing this round on the scorecards. 30-27 Munoz.
WINNER: Alexander Munoz by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Munoz clearly had the advantage in terms of power, as he was hurting Deaton nearly every time in which he landed cleanly, but he was hesitant to throw throughout this fight, which led to a rather dull fifteen-minute bout. The activity was there for Deaton, but he just could not generate the same level of power that Munoz was landing with, and I thought that difference in power ultimately gave Munoz the edge in each of the three rounds, despite his hesitance offensively. Munoz is now 1-2 in the UFC following this win, which notably marked his first victory since October of 2019.
TYSON NAM (21-13-1, 126) VS AZAT MAKSUM (16-0, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
The fighters exchanged strikes early in the fight, with both men showcasing their power. Maksum threatened a takedown at one point, but Nam shrugged it off, keeping the fight on the feet. Maksum was looking sharp whenever he threw his strikes in combination, but more often than not, the fighters were trading strikes at an even rate, and Nam’s leg kicks were quickly starting to take their toll on Maksum. Maksum secured a takedown near the end of the round, but there was not enough time left for him to register any meaningful control time. 10-9 Maksum.
A left hook from Maksum seemed to wobble Nam in the second round, but if Nam was hurt, he recovered quickly. Nam partially connected with a straight right hand as he marched forward, before defending another takedown attempt from Maksum. The pace of this round was slightly slower than the last, as Maksum seemed slightly more hesitant to engage with Nam, and this led to a very evenly contested round on the feet as a result. Maksum landed a solid one-two in the round’s final minute, which Nam responded to with a back fist. This was a very tough round to score. 19-19.
Maksum worked his jab throughout the opening minute of the final round, as Nam picked away at Maksum’s lead leg with kicks. The leg kicks were certainly adding up for Nam, but Maksum switched stances often and did his best to utilize his speed advantage whenever the fighters set to trade strikes in the pocket. A right hand from Nam found a home with ninety seconds remaining in the fight before he defended a takedown attempt from Maksum. Nam landed some solid shots before the end of the round, and I thought he did enough to take this final round on the scorecards. 29-28 Nam.
WINNER: Azat Maksum by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
This was a very evenly contested fight, and I was not surprised to see that the judges were split on its victor. While Maksum’s combinations and general movement led to some big moments throughout the bout, I thought Nam did the more consistent work throughout rounds two and three, attacking the lead leg of Maksum while finding a home for his powerful right hand whenever the opportunity presented itself. Nam is 39 years old, which is usually far past the expiry date for a fighter in one of the lower weight classes, but he remains a quick, dangerous fighter, and while Nam did not get his arm raised here, he remains a UFC-level talent in one of the promotions more exciting weight classes. This marked Maksum’s first fight in the UFC, and he remains undefeated professionally.
EVAN ELDER (7-2, 156) VS GENARO VALDEZ (10-2, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Elder immediately dropped Valdez with a right hand before jumping down for a guillotine choke, but Valdez rolled out of the submission, returning to his feet. Valdez began to work his jab back on the feet, as Elder threw out kicks with his lead leg. Elder attacked the body in combination, which was prompting Valdez to swing back with considerable power as he attempted to back Elder off of him. While Valdez did find success with his hands throughout the round, Elder was giving him a lot more to think about in return, and it felt as though Elder was in control of the action heading into round two. 10-9 Elder.
Elder sat Valdez down at the start of the second round, and while Valdez recovered quickly, this set the tone for the round just as the knockdown at the start of the previous round did. Just as Elder was getting comfortable on the feet, Valdez dropped Elder with a huge shot, shifting the momentum of the bout. As Valdez looked to capitalize on the moment, Valdez’s outstretched fingers grazed the eye of Valdez, leading to a pause in the action as the doctor was brought in to check on him. It was determined that Valdez was fit to fight, and the fighters traded heavy blows as the action resumed. This was a very close round, but I narrowly gave it to Valdez based largely off of the damage done from his one big knockdown. 19-19.
A jab from Elder staggered Valdez at the start of the final round, and Elder moved in for the kill, catching Valdez with that jab repeatedly. Valdez recovered and attempted to turn the fight into more of a brawl as he did in the prior round, but Elder did a good job of avoiding a firefight, slipping Valdez’s shots before landing his own strikes. The fighters traded strikes for the remainder of the bout as both men looked to secure a late finish, but the fight did go the distance in the end, and I scored the bout 29-28 for Evan Elder.
WINNER: Evan Elder by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
Elder looked great throughout this fight, really mixing up his offense well to keep Valdez somewhat hesitant. Elder’s power was on display here, hurting Valdez at the start of each of the three rounds, which forced Valdez to fight from behind repeatedly. To Valdez’s credit, he was never out of this fight, swung until the final bell, and actually came close to finishing Elder when he caught him in the second round. It was an exciting fight, and a strong performance from Evan Elder, who was in need of a big win after dropping his first two fights in the promotion.
AUSTIN LINGO (9-2, 145.5) VS MELQUIZAEL COSTA (19-6, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
This fight began at a somewhat hectic pace. Costa could not miss with his kicks, and he quickly did significant damage to the body of Lingo, who was entirely focused on defending his body as this opening round wore on. Costa went high with a left hand that found its target, before going back down and kicking Lingo in the body once again. According to the UFC broadcast, Costa had over fifty strikes landed in this round to Lingo’s fifteen, and those numbers certainly felt accurate by the round’s conclusion, as this was quite the five minutes for Melquizael Costa. 10-9 Costa.
Costa continued to attack the body of Lingo with kicks in the second round, and Lingo did not seem to have much to offer Costa in return. I thought that Lingo did a better job of taking the shots and returning fire with offense of his own in this second round, but Costa remained several steps ahead of Lingo in the round, attacking the body with countless kicks throughout the round. Lingo was catching Costa with the occasional heavy right hand as he pressed forward, keeping himself in this fight, but I thought this was still another clear round for Costa. 20-18 Costa.
Costa shot for a takedown at the start of the final round, but his attempt was defended. Lingo did his best to press forward while cutting the cage, however, the kicks from Costa continued to be the story of the fight, as he managed to keep the fight at range, where he proceeded to drill the body of Lingo with a wide variety of kicks. Roughly halfway through the round, Costa successfully brought the fight to the ground, where he took Lingo’s back and started hunting for a rear naked choke. Lingo successfully defended the choke, but could not escape from under Costa, who controlled the action until time expired in the fight. 30-27 Costa.
WINNER: Melquizael Costa by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Lingo was certainly a game opponent, but Costa was just a level above him here. Costa went on the attack from the very beginning of the fight, and he never let up, just brutalizing the body of Lingo with a wide variety of kicks for fifteen minutes. In the first round, I was certain that Lingo was just moments away from crumbling, but he fought through the pain for the remainder of the fight and actually began to find more success as the fight progressed despite his accumulated damage throughout the fight. Regardless, this was a very strong performance from Costa, who is now 1-1 in the UFC after losing his promotional debut at 155lbs.
VICTORIA DUDAKOVA (6-0, 116) VS ISTELA NUNES (6-4, 1 NC, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Dudakova rolled for a leg lock in the opening seconds of the fight, and as Nunes attempted to post on her arm to defend the leg lock, her arm just snapped, immediately ending the fight.
WINNER: Victoria Dudakova by TKO at 0:34 of Round 1
This was a rather gruesome injury, and Nunes’s screams of pain were certainly uncomfortable to listen to echo throughout the empty Apex facility. Dudakova shot for a very unorthodox takedown, and Nunes posted awkwardly, resulting in the unfortunate dislocation. Given the quick ending to the fight, there was not much to break down from the action itself, but I would highly recommend not going back to watch this particular finish if you are in any way squeamish when it comes to injuries, as Daniel Cormier and Brendan Fitzgerald clearly were on commentary. This fight marked Dudakova’s UFC debut, and she remains undefeated professionally as a result of this win.
TUCKER LUTZ (12-3, 146) VS MELSIK BAGHDASARYAN (7-2, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Lutz pressed Baghdasaryan against the cage after trading kicks throughout the first two minutes of the bout. Lutz was able to take Baghdasaryan to the ground with his back to the fence, and while he was not terribly active from top position, Lutz maintained the position for quite some time. Baghdasaryan made it back to his feet before the end of the round but was unable to create separation, and Lutz kept Baghdasaryan pressed to the cage until time expired in the round. 10-9 Lutz.
Baghdasaryan hurt Lutz with a heavy left hand early in the second round, and he immediately started pressing forward as Baghdasaryan looked to force the finish. Lutz was able to weather the storm from Baghdasaryan and he seemed to have recovered, but a shot from Baghdasaryan landed low just moments later, and as Lutz signaled that he was hit low, Baghdasaryan tagged him with a head kick as well. The referee did step in and give Lutz time to recover, but when the action resumed, Baghdasaryan went right back on the attack, landing heavy jabs and strong body kicks. Lutz secured a takedown towards the end of the round, but there was not enough time remaining for him to steal back the round. 19-19.
The third round began with a rather nasty eye poke to Lutz, who was given time to recover from the foul. Baghdasaryan was putting a hundred percent into each of his strikes, and I thought he was clearly the fighter landing with more power, and Lutz seemed to realize this, as he went back to what worked for him earlier in the fight; wrestling. Lutz took Baghdasaryan down with four minutes to work, and Baghdasaryan seemed somewhat lost as Lutz moved to the back of Baghdasaryan. Baghdasaryan escaped to his feet, but was unable to escape from the clinch, where Lutz continued to shoot for takedowns. Baghdasaryan broke away and flurried forward towards the end of the round, but was unable to finish the fight before time expired. 29-28 Baghdasaryan.
WINNER: Melsik Baghdasaryan by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Baghdasaryan was a step ahead of Lutz on the feet, but Lutz was clearly the stronger grappler, and as a result, an old-school striker versus grappler matchup played itself out for fifteen minutes. I thought that the first two rounds were fairly clear, with Lutz taking the first and Baghdasaryan taking the second decisively, but the third round was actually very close, and I would not have been surprised if the 29-28 scorecards were in favor of Lutz instead. Lutz controlled Baghdasaryan on the ground and against the cage for the majority of the round, but he just was not busy enough in terms of damage, and as a result, Baghdasaryan took the round on the judge’s scorecards from his short flurries towards the end of the fight. Baghdasaryan is now 3-1 in the UFC following this win.
TERRANCE MCKINNEY (13-5, 156) VS NAZIM SADYKHOV (8-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
McKinney shot for a takedown quickly, and he was able to take Sadykhov to the ground in the fights opening minute. McKinney locked in a body triangle and started working from the back of Sadykhov, looking for a rear naked choke. Sadykhov did a good job of fighting the hands, but was unable to improve his position with the body triangle locked in, resulting in McKinney retaining his position until the rounds final minute, where Sadykhov escaped to his feet and briefly went on the attack before time expired.
Sadykhov continued where he left off at the start of round two, bringing the fight to McKinney as he did his best to keep his back off of the cage. McKinney attempted to take fight to the ground once more, but this time, Sadykhov was able to reverse the takedown, and with McKinney’s one arm trapped behind his back, Sadykhov as able to flatten McKinney out on the ground, lock in the rear naked choke, and secure the second-round submission victory.
WINNER: Nazim Sadykhov by rear naked choke at 1:07 of Round 2
McKinney’s strategy was clearly to outwrestle Sadykhov, but that strategy backfired when he was caught with his back to the cage following a takedown attempt in round two, and Sadykhov immediately capitalized on the opportunity, showcasing his own grappling ability in the process. Sadykhov has faced strong competition in his first two UFC fights, and he has emerged victorious in impressive fashion both times, so I have high hopes for him in what remains a talent-stacked lightweight division. For McKinney, this was certainly a tough result, as he has now lost three of his last four bouts, but he remains a very entertaining fighter, and I have no doubt that he will get another chance to get back into the win column in the UFC.
NORMA DUMONT (9-2, 145.5) VS CHELSEA CHANDLER (5-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Dumont rocked Chandler in the opening minute of the fight, and Chandler sprinted across the cage with her back to Dumont in order to escape Dumont and buy herself some time to recover. The commentary team nearly died of laughter at Chandler’s sprint, but her strategy paid off, as she seemed to have recovered by the time the fighters separated from the cage. Dumont secured a takedown with ninety seconds remaining in the round. While she was not terribly active from top position, Dumont was able to maintain her position until the end of the round, and coupled with the big shot she landed in the opening minute, this was a fairly easy round to score in her favor. 10-9 Dumont.
Chandler caught Dumont with a straight right hand at the start of round two, which Dumont responded to with a heavy leg kick. Chandler pressured forward, but it was Dumont who was landing the stronger shots more often than not. Eventually, Dumont opted to take the fight to the ground once again, where she was largely able to control Chandler from top position, landing the occasional ground and pound blow to ensure that her position was not taken away from her. This was another clear round for Dumont, and Chandler was likely in need of a finish going into the fight’s final round. 20-18 Dumont.
Both fighters recorded takedowns in the opening minute of the final round, but neither fighter was able to establish control on the ground. Chandler attempted to press forward and force a finish, but she was quickly tripped back to the ground by Dumont. Much like the previous rounds, Dumont dominated the action from top position, and Chandler did not appear to have many answers for Dumont on the ground, outside of the occasional up-kick. This fight went the distance, and I scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Norma Dumont.
WINNER: Norma Dumont by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Chandler brought the fight to Dumont throughout this bout, but her patterns were predictable, and Dumont was consistently able to counter, either with well-timed takedowns, or solid counter right hands that were landing with genuine power. Chandler was not quite on the level of Norma Dumont, and this turned into a rather one-sided fight as it progressed (although Chandler did have her moments throughout the bout). Apparently, there was some bad blood between the fighters going into this fight, but all seemed well by the conclusion of the bout. After the bout, Daniel Cormier questioned Dumont on her title aspirations, and while Dumont would certainly be the top name in consideration of a featherweight title shot, the status of the UFC Women’s Featherweight division definitely feels up in the air following Amanda Nunes’s retirement, and if I was a betting man, I do not think my money would be on seeing another title fight in this particular division.
ALBERT DURAEV (16-4, 185) VS JUN YONG PARK (16-5, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Duraev landed the first heavy shot of the fight, a solid left hook as Park backed away from him. Park began to work his jab, as Duraev found success with some wilder looping shots. Park ate a huge right hand at one point, and just continued to march forward, showcasing an iron chin. Park’s jab busted open Duraev’s nose as the round wore on, and in turn, Duraev had busted Park open near his right eye. With thirty seconds remaining in the first round, Park jumped for a standing guillotine, and it was locked in tight, but Duraev managed to endure it until the horn sounded.
Duraev secured a takedown early in the second round, but he was unable to hold Park down for long. Park started pressuring forward, and he seemed to be starting to overwhelm Duraev with his attack as Park started mixing his offense up. Duraev did his best to cover up and return fire, but a left hand from Park sent Duraev to the ground, and Park followed him down, where he flattened Duraev out, locked in the rear naked choke, and forced Duraev to submit.
WINNER: Jun Yong Park by rear naked choke at 4:45 of Round 2
Duraev was the more aggressive fighter in the first round, and he was doing significant damage with his powerful strikes, but Park was content to work his jab throughout the round, and waited for Duraev to tire before he really started going on the attack. It was great work from Park, who started doubling up on his jab before mixing in some heavy straight punches behind those jabs to fluster Duraev. As Duraev started retreating, Park really began to pick up his activity, and it did not take long for Park to overwhelm him against the cage, eventually dropping Duraev before securing the rear naked choke finish. It was an excellent performance from Park, who has quietly had a very impressive run since debuting in the UFC, compiling a total record of 7-2 in the promotion, now with four consecutive wins.
OTTMAN AZAITAR (13-1, 156) VS FRANCISCO PRADO (11-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Prado checked a keg kick from Azaitar just outside of the opening minute that actually cut Azaitar open near his shin. A left uppercut from Azaitar found its mark, and he started throwing them with regularity, really digging into the body with some heavy shots. At one point, Prado caught Azaitar with an elbow, and he followed that up with a spinning elbow that found its target just moments later. Prado recognized the effectiveness of these elbows, and he spun for another heavy one later in the round, this time dropping Azaitar hard. Prado followed him down to the ground, and he just threw down brutal hammerfists until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Francisco Prado by TKO at 4:05 of Round 1
Both fighters were looking for quick finishes, and both fighters quickly found holes that they could exploit in their opponent’s defensive tendencies. For Azaitar, it was the uppercuts and body shots that quickly began to add up, and he was throwing each of those shots with fight-ending intentions. In Prado’s case, it was of course, the spinning elbows, that he really started to look for after catching Azaitar on his way in with an elbow earlier in the bout. In the end, it was one of the spinning elbows from Prado that got the job done, and while there was some debate regarding the stoppage, I thought that referee Chris Tognoni made the right call to stop this one when he did, as Azaitar was taking significant damage on the ground without clear signs of intelligent defense. Prado’s UFC record improved to 1-1 following this win.
JACK DELLA MADDALENA (14-2, 171) VS BASSIL HAFEZ (8-3-1, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Hafez took Della Maddalena down just ten seconds into the fight, but a series of scrambles led to the fighters returning to their feet, where they battled in the clinch against the cage until they separated with more than three minutes to work. Hafez and Della Maddalena exchanged heavy shots in the pocket before Hafez took the fight back to the ground, where he started working from side control. Della Maddalena scrambled to his feet, and the fighters traded powerful shots once again before Hafez shot for yet another takedown. This time, Della Maddalena was able to defend the attempt, but this sequence repeated itself, and Hafez was successful on his next takedown attempt, ending the round in top position. 10-9 Hafez.
The fighters continued to trade strikes wildly in the second round, and it was a wonder that neither man had fallen by the ninety-second mark of round two. Hafez was still looking for takedowns, but they were not coming as easy as they were in round one, and Hafez was starting to look a bit tired. Della Maddalena really started digging into the body of Hafez, and they were doing significant damage, clearly slowing Hafez down. Hafez shot for another takedown, and this time, he was successful, taking half guard with two minutes to work. While Hafez did not do a ton of damage from top position, he was able to maintain the position until the end of the round. 19-19.
Hafez came out swinging in round three before he shot for another takedown that Della Maddalena managed to defend. Hafez looked absolutely gassed whenever he swung, but his shots were still packing power, and his wrestling ability was a serious concern for Della Maddalena, who was having trouble keeping his distance. A left hand from Della Maddalena hurt Hafez badly, and he went on the attack as Della Maddalena attempted to finish the fight. Hafez did his best to create clinch situations and swing back, but he was hurt badly, and beyond gassed. Della Maddalena just continued to pour on the attack, until he finally felled the exhausted Hafez, but as Della Maddalena followed him to the ground, he lost his position, and Hafez managed to take top position momentarily, buying himself time to recover. Della Maddalena managed to escape to his feet and secure a final takedown before the end of the round, and time expired with Della Maddalena in top position. 29-28 Della Maddalena.
WINNER: Jack Della Maddalena by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Just last week, Jack Della Maddalena was scheduled to face Josiah Harrell at UFC 290, but the fight was removed from the card the day before the event, as Harrel’s pre-fight medicals led to him being diagnosed with a rare brain disease, a timely diagnosis that led to him being removed from the card, and brain surgery being scheduled. This left Jack Della Maddalena without a fight, but on just five days’ notice, he agreed to fight promotional newcomer Bassil Hafez. Unlike Jack Della Maddalena, Hafez had no training camp going into this fight, and he was certainly a dramatic underdog making his UFC debut on such short notice against a ranked fighter like Della Maddalena, who has steamrolled all of his competition to this point in the UFC, and not lost a bout since May of 2016. Despite these odds, Hafez gave Della Maddalena a fight here, going as far as to take the fight on one of the judge’s scorecards. Personally, I thought the final two rounds were decisive enough in Della Maddalena’s favor, but Hafez certainly kept things interesting with his wrestling ability and willingness to exchange strikes, and I daresay Hafez will get another shot in the UFC after this impressive showing against a ranked opponent.
HOLLY HOLM (15-6, 135.5) VS MAYRA BUENO SILVA (10-2-1, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT
The fighters touched gloves to begin the main event. Holm grabbed a single leg and pressed Bueno Silva against the cage early, but Bueno Silva was able to create separation, and the fighter exchanged strikes on the feet, with Holm seemingly out landing Bueno Silva. Bueno Silva connected with a series of knees to the body of Holm at one point, which prompted Holm to re-engage her in the clinch against the cage momentarily. Silva pressed forward, finding some success whenever she closed the distance, but she was not chaining her strikes together in combination, which was giving Holm time to recover and re-strategize after getting hit. Still, I thought by the end of the round, Bueno Silva had landed the more damaging shots, and I narrowly scored the opening round in her favor.
Holm wrapped Bueno Silva up in the clinch in the opening minute of the second round, but this proved to be a mistake, because as she started looking for a single leg, Bueno Silva locked in a standing guillotine choke with her back to the cage, and the submission was locked in tight. Holm did her best to escape the hold but was quickly forced to submit.
WINNER: Mayra Bueno Silva by ninja choke at 0:38 of Round 2
Holm started the fight off strongly, utilizing the short combinations and clinch fighting tactics that she typically finds success with, but as the first round wore on, Bueno Silva began to find confidence on the feet, and she started walking Holm down without fear, throwing her strikes with more power than Holm was capable of returning fire with. In the second round, Holm brought the fight back to the clinch, but Bueno Silva is a skilled grappler, and quickly set up the fight-ending ninja choke, forcing Holm to submit for the first time since her bantamweight title loss in 2016. After this win, Bueno Silva will likely be next in line for a bantamweight title shot, and given the title’s current vacant status, it seems likely that Julianna Pena will be the fighter opposite Bueno Silva in the octagon when it is time to crown a new champion in the division. After the fight, Bueno Silva called out Pena, and while there are certainly other options available at 135lbs, I do think Bueno Silva and Pena will ultimately be the fight that the UFC decides to go with, although Valentina Shevchenko could certainly cut the line if she opts to move back up to bantamweight.