Heavyweight action on the UFC 277 preliminary card saw Don’Tale Mayes up against Egyptian newcomer Hamdy Abdelwahab.
With just three pro fights to his name (discounting some bare-knuckle MMA), all in 2022, Abdelwahab was a rare and exceptionally green signing by the UFC. On the other hand, Abdelwahab was a former Olympic wrestler, so the base, presumably, was there.
That turned out to be the case, with the newcomer’s wrestling the difference against a very active, offensively-minded Mayes.
Both big guys took center cage throwing some heavy leather early in the fight. Mayes was the more active striker early on. Abdelwahab was throwing the harder but single strikes, where Mayes was using footwork, quick hands, and kicks. Mayes out of nowhere got dropped and thrown down to the ground when trying to get back up. Abdelwahab almost closed the fight right then and there, but Mayes survived and got back to his feet.
Abdelwahab was on the back of Mayes, just standing not doing anything and the ref separated them. Mayes came back with a flying knee and a head kick but both could be seen coming a mile away. The round ended with a clubbing right overhand and a flying knee that just missed from Mayes.
They got right after it in round two and an exchange the newcomer had Mayes backing up. Not for long though, as Mayes landed a body kick and a left hand. Abdelwahab was shaken after a big right hand and started curling up as Mayes went off with big shots. Mayes let up and let Abdelwahab back in the fight, but Abdelwahab appeared to barely be in the fight. Mayes was visibly tired but still moving a lot better. Mayes made a mistake diving in on Abdelwahab letting Abdelwahab get top position to end the round.
Big man took 𝘍𝘓𝘐𝘎𝘏𝘛 ✈️
— UFC (@ufc) July 31, 2022
Right away in the final round Abdelwahab closed the distance and got the fight down. That would turn out to be key. He did well in landing the shot and when Mayes got back up he took him right back down. Very little was being done on top by Abdelwahab but Mayes was doing nothing to get back to his feet. With very little action the ref eventually stood them up, but there was under a minute left. Mayes ended the round with a big flurry.
Mayes taking his foot of the gas when Abdelwahab was hurt in the second, and being unable to get back to his feet in the third cost him a pair of opportunities to win the fight. Instead, Hamdy Abdelwahab took the split decision win.
Official Result: Hamdy Abdelwahab def. Dontale Mayes by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)