Youssef Zalal
The Moroccan Devil

Morocco

Comes up short against Woodson
FeatherweightUFC
June 6, 2021
Zalal lost to Sean Woodson via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 28-29) at UFC Vegas 28 on Saturday.
ANALYSIS
Zalal seemingly won the first round after securing a takedown and outlanding Woodson 17 to 11 in significant strikes. His wrestling success ended there, however, as he finished the fight just 2-for-17 in takedown attempts. The final striking totals were relatively even, but the judges ultimately valued Woodson's efforts on the feet over Zalal's largely unsuccessful efforts to get the fight to the mat. While Zalal entered with quite a bit of steam as a prospect, he's now followed up his 3-0 start with the company with three consecutive losses. He'll need a win in the worst way possible his next time out.
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Set to fight again in June
FeatherweightUFC
March 12, 2021
Zalal will face Sean Woodson at a UFC Fight Night event scheduled for June 5, Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie reports. The venue and location for the fight has yet to be announced.
ANALYSIS
Zalal got off to a quick 3-0 start in the UFC last year but has cooled off and currently riding a two-fight losing skid. His most recent defeat came at the hands of Seungwoo Choi who beat him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night on Feb. 6. His opponent, Sean Woodson, is coming off his first professional loss after he was submitted by Julian Erosa in the third round at UFC Fight Night back in June. The two competitors will be hungry to get back on track after losing fights in which they were both significant favorites to win.
Another poor effort in Vegas
FeatherweightUFC
February 6, 2021
Zalal lost to Seungwoo Choi via unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 27-30) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It's a crushing defeat in a fight in which Zalal entered as a significant -235 favorite. He badly needed a rebound performance on the heels of his unanimous decision loss to Ilia Topuria last October, and it never materialized. In fact, Zalal was credited with a grand total of 18 significant strikes landed over the course of the 15-minute bout. Zalal got some steam following three straight unanimous decision victories to begin his UFC run, but it's quickly come crashing down on the 24-year-old. Zalal has youth on his side, but he probably needs a victory his next time out in order to save his job.
Fighting on short notice
FeatherweightUFC
January 27, 2021
Zalal will fight Seungwoo Choi in a featherweight matchup at the UFC event Feb. 6, MMADNA reports.
ANALYSIS
Zalal will replace Collin Anglin in the bout, who needed to step aside for undisclosed reasons. Zalal last fought in Abu Dhabi this past October, where he was narrowly defeated by Ilia Topuria via unanimous decision. Despite agreeing to this short-notice fight, Zalal sits as a (-230) betting favorite early in fight week.
Suffers first UFC defeat
FeatherweightUFC
October 10, 2020
Zalal lost to Ilia Topuria via unanimous decision (28-29, 28-29, 28-29) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
ANALYSIS
This wasn't as close as the scores would lead you to believe. In fact, it was difficult to find a round in that Zalal appeared to win. Hopelessly outmatched on the mat, Zalal spent the vast majority of the bout fighting off submission attempts from Topuria. He actually did exceedingly well in that regard, but playing all that defense limited Zalal's ability to generate any consistent offense of his own. This was Zalal's first UFC defeat after three straight victories to begin his time with the company. All four fights have seen the final bell. Zalal turned just 24 years of age this past September, and time is firmly on his side despite Saturday's setback.
New opponent Oct. 10
FeatherweightUFC
October 3, 2020
Zalal will now take on the debuting Ilia Topuria in a featherweight matchup at the UFC event scheduled for Oct. 10 on Fight Island, Marcel Dorff of MMADNA reports.
ANALYSIS
Zalal was originally slated for a matchup against Seungwoo Choi, but Choi withdrew due to undisclosed reasons, giving Zalal just over a week to prepare for a matchup against an undefeated prospect. Look for Zalal to still enter as the favorite, as he's a perfect 3-0 against UFC competition and will hold a three-inch height advantage over Topuria. A 23-year-old prospect out of the country of Georgia, Topuria has finished all eight of his pro bouts, with seven wins coming via submission. Fortunately for Zalal, he's never been submitted in 12 total professional fights.