Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST.
UFC Vegas 28 - UFC APEX - Las Vegas, NV
Youssef Zalal +150 over Sean Woodson
7:00 PM EST. Two featherweight prospects get together here but when Sean Woodson (7-1) steps back into the Octagon here against Youssef Zalal (10-4), it will nearly be a full year since his last fight. That was on June 27th when he took on a short notice opponent in Julian Erosa. Woodson would beat up Erosa in the first round but Juicy J would endure the first round onslaught. Subsequently, Woodson went backwards the rest of the way in a stunning defeat as a 5-1 favorite. It’s rare for a 5-1 fav to lose but that’s precisely what happened. Woodson was obviously way overpriced prior to his last fight with a then 7-0 record and he’s probably overpriced here too.
Woodson has an unusual style. He’ll come at his opponents from all these unorthodox angles and he’ll also feint, left, right, up and down. Looking into his background, he had his sights set on a boxing career but a bad car accident derailed those plans and he turned to MMA where he fought an insane 49 amateur fights and went 43-6. That’s a lot of tread on the tires.
Sean “The Sniper” Woodson might be better than his last fight against Juicy J but we can’t help but wonder about his stamina. Those 49 amateur fights also stick out as to what took him so long to “improve”. The great Teddy Atlas said this about Sean Woodson, ”Sean Woodson is one of those fighters that, when the going gets tough, he stops. When fights get ugly and he starts to tire, he stops doing the things you like from him”.
Woodson doesn’t come from one of the top training sites either, another sign that he’s not all that. The Sniper is not a disciplined fighter, instead, he’s someone that a skilled fighter can get him off his game plan quite easily.
Enter Youssef “The Morrocon Devil” Zalal, loser of two straight, which is something the market does not appreciate. However, the losses were to Ilia Topuria (8-0) and then Seung Woo Choi (8-3) but Choi is spectacular and was spectacular against Zalal. One cannot fault Youssef for a loss against the great Ilia Topuria either. Now, if you watch Zalal’s interview about two weeks ago, he discusses his mental approach to the fight game. He stated he was going out there against his last two opponents wanting to put on a show but he’s taken those lessons and now has a kill or be killed mentality. That is a great place to be for the Morrocon Devil and he’s good.
Zalal is very likely going to take some early shots from Woodson. However, if he can stay within himself, stay disciplined and be on his mental game, this is Zalal’s fight to win, not Woodson’s. Finally, and for what it’s worth, Woodson is a striker. In his last two fights, less than 10% of Woodson’s strikes were kicks. Furthermore, the Sniper’s legs are like twigs and we have to trust that Zalal’s corner will have him well prepared to attack Woodson’s legs and to attack his many other weaknesses to put himself in a position to win. Woodson is 6’2” and 145 lbs, which is not the physique of an MMA fighter worth getting behind at prices like this. Zalal to the bank is the call.
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Youssef Zalal +150 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.00)