The Egyptian Olympic wrestler had only three professional MMA fights, all in 2022, prior to his UFC debut. What’s impressive he ended all of his previous opponents, including those met in a bare-knuckle MMA competition circuit, before the final bell.
However, at UFC 277 Abdelwahab secured the first unanimous decision victory of his career thank to his Olympic wrestling background.
In the early stage of the fight, both fighters took the center of the octagon and exchanged some heavy blows. Mayers was more offensive-minded and more active in the striking exchange with Abdelwahab throwing single, but more powerful punches. Suddenly the Egyptian hit his opponent so hard, that he got dropped to the ground, which presented an opportunity for Abdelwahab to end the fight then and there, but Mayes managed to survive and get back to his feet.
Later Abdelwahab took Mayes’ back but didn’t take the advantage of it and the fighters were separated. At the end of a round, the American threw a sloppy flying knee, that was easy to dodge by Abdelwahab.
Both fighters decided to start the second round with another striking exchange that resulted in Mayes backing up. However, he was able to land a body kick followed by a left hand. Then he threw a right punch which shook Abdelwahab, allowing Mayers to follow with some heavy punches. The fatigue showed in both fighters’ movements, but the American looked to be in better shape. However, he made a mistake and decided to go for a takedown, which led Abdelwahab to get a top position in the finishing stage of the second round.
Abdelwahab change his game plan in the third round and almost immediately he took his opponent down. He landed some punches and took Mayes down again right after he got back up. Even if the Egyptian fighter was doing little on the ground, Mayes was doing absolutely nothing. Finally, the referee stood them up, but there was under a minute left to the final bell. Mayes swung for the fences to close the fight.
Abdelwahab won this fight with a split decision and was the first Egyptian MMA fighter to secure a win in the UFC. What’s more impressive, he took the fight on 12-day notice. During his in-ring interview, he said that he’s proud of himself and his people and that he’s not only a wrestler, but he also can box.