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Jordan Griffin vs Youssef Zalal (Poirier vs Hooker) June 27th

Youssef Zalal (8-2) and Jordan Griffin (18-7) are set to collide at 145 lbs on Saturday. Griffin was supposed to compete on June 13th against Darrick Minner, Minner unfortunately had to pull out and the fight was scrapped. Griffin is now set to face Youssef Zalal who is making his 2nd appearance inside the UFC octagon.


After a very impressive debut against Austin Lingo 4 months ago, Zalal is back for another go this weekend. Zalal cashed as a +200 underdog for us back in February. Zalal is in for a tougher test this weekend as he faces Jordan Griffin. Zalal is a long rangy striker who also has very impressive footwork to compliment his length. It was on full display vs Lingo. Lingo was looking to sit down and throw caution to the wind against Zalal. There were very few moments Lingo had any kind of success in that fight. Consistent lateral movement and well timed takedowns completely shut down Austin Lingo. Zalal displayed excellent cardio throughout and took a 30-27 unanimous decision win. It was one of the more impressive debut's in quite some time. Youssef has only been pro since August 2017. He is evolving at a rapid rate and his ability to execute a near pefect gameplan in the big show in debut is very encouraging going forward. Youssef is well versed all areas of MMA. He is a purple belt in BJJ and has 5 submission wins to his name as a pro. I think where he has trouble is against primary wrestlers with an edge in the strength department. His 2 losses were to opponents who would push him against cage and look to impose physical advantages as well as implement a wrestle heavy gameplan. I don't think Griffin is the kind of fighter that fits the mold of the ones Zalal has struggled with in the past.


Jordan Griffin is coming off a wild win against TJ Brown back in February. Griffin was largely getting dominated by the takedowns of Brown for 2 rounds. Jordan Griffin won exactly how Jordan Griffin wins just about all his fights, he took advantage of a small window and pulled off a very unorthodox submission. Griffin is a VERY opportunistic finisher and will pounce on any little opening he is given. That is def. a concern going against a younger less experienced fighter like Zalal. Griffin is used to weathering a storm and coming out on top. Griffin is a dog who will not quit inside that octagon, doesn't really wow you in one particular area but he will wow you with toughness and grit. In 25 pro fights Griffin has only been put away once. Time and time again he is put in bad situations but finds a way out and continues to push forward. Skelley and Ige are perfect examples of fights that showcase who Griffin is as a fighter. I do however see the holes in Griffin's game and they never seem go away. Griffin is a tough guy but his cardio seems to fade rather quickly in fights. After the first 7.5 mins of a fight he seems to fatigue and hit a wall physically. Griffin also hasn't sure'd up his TDD, looking back at the tape that has always been a problem for him. Hasn't seemed to close that gap and seems to sort of accept TD's on occasion. While for the large part Griffin's submission attempts seem to work and bail him out of some fights there are also occasions where they cost him the fight vs higher level opponents. Instead of keeping the fight upright in rd 3 vs Skelley he chose to jump a guillotine and give away position.T hat was ultimately a big part of why he lost that fight. Fight IQ is not in the vocabulary of Jordan Griffin.


The matchup- I think Zalal posses all the tools to go out here and outpoint Griffin to a decision win. Zalal struggles when opponents press a wrestling type fight and or he is fighting off opponent in clinch type situations. Griffin will pressure but he won't pressure with grappling. Zalal can offset the pressure with well timed TD's throughout and that lateral movement. I think Griffin will get a bit frustrated when he realizes Zalal performs at range well. I expect Griffin to try and close the gap with blitzes but I also expect Zalal to execute well timed shots to ground Griffin. If Zalal can avoid guillotine I think he can maintain top control for long periods of time. On the feet I do think Griffin has a power advantage but Zalal does well maintaining distance and range. I haven't seen Zalal face a southpaw but he has the ability to switch stances if need be. I wouldn't be surprised if Zalal mirrors the stance of Griffin and gets to work on Griffin's lead leg. Low calf kick is usually a big weapon in fights for Zalal. Outside of a random sub (That Griffin is good at getting) I think more times than not Zalal wins a decision here. Zalal is very tactical and smart in fighting approach, Zalal is one of the more technical and quicker opponents Griffin has faced in quite some time. Combine that with he footwork and agility of Zalal and I like him here at +100 odds



Official pick- Youssef Zalal (+100)





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