UFC 270: Jack Della Maddalena reveals crazy Dana White pitch while awaiting his Octagon debut

Australia’s hottest fighter still reckons he can pocket one of Dana White’s $50K UFC bonuses on debut this weekend, despite being forced to endure a week of Las Vegas ‘limbo’.

Breakout Australian UFC fighter Jack Della Maddalena is gunning to win his hyped octagon debut via first round knockout — and score a US$50,000 bonus — despite having had less than a week to prepare for his undefeated American rival.

Among the nation’s most exciting fight prospects, and described as “special” by no less than UFC president Dana White, 25-year-old Della Maddalena is set to make his promotional debut at UFC 270 in Anaheim, California this Sunday (AEST).

Arriving on a card topped by UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou defending in a blockbuster against Ciryl Gane, JDM knows plenty of eyes will be on his own hyped debut against undefeated Arizona native Pete Rodriguez — who has won all four of his professional fights in the first round.

Initially slated to fight Brazilian veteran Warlley Alves, the West Australian revealed he only learned of his new welterweight rival five days ago, and almost a week after arriving in Las Vegas to finalise preparations at the UFC Performance Institute.

“So we spent our first four days here in limbo,” he says.

“It was only a day before we flew out that the UFC told me (Alves was out). But they also said they’d definitely get me somebody, so even after arriving that kept me positive.”

Jack Della Maddalena on his way to winning Dana White's Contender Series bout against Ange Loosa. Picture: Supplied
Jack Della Maddalena on his way to winning Dana White's Contender Series bout against Ange Loosa. Picture: Supplied

But still after jetting into the world’s fight capital to finish off preparations, the days ticked by without a rival being announced.

“And we were hearing all these different things,” Della Maddalena continued. “One day we were hearing it could be one guy, then the next it was completely different.

“So my coach and I just agreed to take any fight. We said ‘whoever you give us we’re in’.”

Enter Rodriguez.

Apart from being undefeated in all four appearances in the iKon Fighting Series, the American has also never gone beyond the first round — with his quickest stoppage wins including a flying knee after just 10 seconds and KO at 41 seconds.

Yet while Della Maddalena has been given only a working week to prepare for his new rival, the fighter who earned this opportunity via Dana White’s Contender Series is still promising a fast finish.

“I reckon I get him out of there in the first round,” he said.

“And I’ll definitely be trying to take him out as quickly as possible. Trying to take his head off.

“But if not, OK. Although I will be trying to finish him the whole time.”

Jack Della Maddalena. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Jack Della Maddalena. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Better, Rodriguez will be looking to do the same.

“He’s someone the UFC have seen and said ‘OK, he is coming to fight,” the Perth fighter continued.

“He won’t be scared to scrap, which is awesome.

“Because while I think that I’m better than him, I now have to get in there and prove that.

“So let’s go.”

Importantly, Della Maddalena is also looking to kick start a huge year for Australian MMA — with No. 1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker and featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski also headlining UFC 271 and UFC 273 respectively.

Asked if he felt Rodriguez was the type of fighter who could help him secure one of White’s $50K UFC bonuses on debut, the Aussie continued: “Oh, 100 per cent.

“I haven’t seen a whole lot of tape on him but it does look like he’s going to be a strong puncher.

“Yet I also think, because of the experience difference between us, that he will be more erratic.

“I think he will be super erratic.

“He will be trying to take shots while I’m calm, looking for my shots.

“But I also expect he will be looking to bring the fight of his life.”

So as for a prediction?

“My goal is to produce a masterclass,” the Aussie said. “Get in and out completely unscathed.

“Which obviously is easier said than done. Because I’m definitely going to be in a fight.

“But I feel like if I put on a masterclass, that 50K will be there.“

Brendan Bradford
Brendan BradfordContent producer

Brendan Bradford is a sports writer for CODE Sports. He primarily covers combat sports, league, union, cycling and athletics. Brendan has worked in sports media for a decade, covering world title fights, World Cups, Grand Slams and Spring Tours.

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