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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike Bohn

Bassil Hafez disputes decision loss to Jack Della Maddalena at UFC on ESPN 49: ‘I thought I won the fight’

Bassil Hafez thinks the judges dropped the ball in his promotional debut loss to Jack Della Maddalena at UFC on ESPN 49.

Hafez (8-4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) stepped up to fight highly touted surging welterweight prospect Della Maddalena (15-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) on just five days’ notice at Saturday’s event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. He was a massive betting underdog for the fight. He nearly pulled off the upset, but came out on the wrong end of a split decision.

After the decision, a number of fighters expressed on social media that Hafez was done wrong on the scorecards. Strong first and second rounds from him before Della Maddalena stormed back in the third should’ve been enough to get his hand raised, they thought, but two of the three judges didn’t agree.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for Hafez, but he’s handled the result with grace. He said he knows the circumstances weren’t ideal, but still thinks he should’ve got the nod.

“I want to say thank you to everyone reaching out, congratulating me,” Hafez said on his Instagram stories. “I thought I won the fight. I definitely still could’ve done more. One of the toughest weight cuts of my life, but I still showed up, made weight and fought my heart out. I love all my fans, all my people. Thank you. This is just the beginning. Can’t wait to get a camp and a proper weight cut, and congratulations to Jack. He’s a beast and his striking is on point. I showed that I can take his punches and maybe we’ll meet again in the future.”

Hafez, 31, trains at Elevation Fight Team in Denver. Training partners such as Justin Gaethje and Anthony Smith have chimed in on his debut performance, and said they weren’t at all surprised about the tenacity of the newcomer.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ESPN 49.

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