Youssef Zalal will be looking to improve to 3-0 at the UFC level when he takes on Peter Barrett this Saturday. Barrett was initially slated to debut against Danny Henry on April 25, but that was cancelled due to COVID-19. He was then slated to face Steve Garcia only to have him withdraw. As a result, Youssef Zalal will be stepping in for his third UFC appearance of 2020.
Zalal last fought on the Poirier-Hooker card, securing a unanimous decision win over Jordan Griffin. Griffin had been in camp for a while and faced multiple opponent switches, but Zalal’s performance against him was impressive nonetheless. Griffin is a proven UFC veteran who fighters such as Dan Ige had a tough time with than Youssef Zalal did.
The Morrocan Devil demonstrated the same elite footwork that was on display in his UFC debut against Peter Barret back in January. That was another UD for Zalal in which he blended quick striking in with well timed take downs to cruise to a victory.
As for Barrett, he is riding a two fight winning streak between Dana White’s Contender’s Series and Cage Titans. Barrett defeated Sang Hoon Yoo in the Contender’s Series slot, earning a contract with a unanimous decision win. As stated above, a series of cancellations have delayed Barrett’s UFC debut, which has led him to a tall order in Zalal.
Yousseff Zalal has all the momentum in the world right now and is one hell of a task for a UFC debut. His movement is elite and he’s shown no cardio issues thus far. Ground game is mixed in very well, and though Zalal is far from one of the most powerful wrestlers in the division, he’s done enough to hold advantageous positions thus far. He’s also fished for submissions in both of his UFC wins.
For Peter Barrett, he will face the now familiar obstacle of a COVID-19 impacted UFC debut. It’s tough enough to make a debut, but when it’s in these circumstances and against a proven UFC talent, the results have not been good for the new guys. We cashed Jamall Emmers over Vince Cachero in a similar spot last week and Nathaniel Wood over John Castaneda the week before.
I ultimately see Youseff Zalal picking up another unanimous decision here. Barrett has been in camp and has a chin, so I certainly see him being in this fight. He’ll have his moments and shows why he belongs, but ultimately I just think that Zalal is a step ahead right now. He’s too quick and can rack up points while falling backwards, so it’s hard not to trust Zalal from any position on the feet.
Zalal double chances are so so, but I’d go with points or submission (-170) if you want an extra layer of security. Zalal by points is the best value though, in my opinion, so I’ll stick with that. Expect the line to get closer to even come fight time.