Promising featherweights that have recently run into setbacks face off in this one as Sean Woodson and Youssef Zalal share the Octagon on Saturday night.
A member of the Contender Series Class of ’19, Woodson won his promotional debut against Kyle Bochniak less than three months after earning his contract but faded hard and was ultimately submitted by resilient veteran Julian Erosa last spring. After being forced out of a matchup with Jonathan Pearce last November, the towering “Sniper” returns this weekend, looking to rebound from his first professional defeat and reclaim some of the momentum he carried following his debut.
Athlete Profiles: Woodson | Zalal
Through the first eight months of last year, Zalal was one of the biggest breakout stars in the UFC, having earned three straight victories to emerge as someone to watch in the 145-pound weight class. But after losing to late replacement-turned-rising star Ilia Topuria in October, the Factory X Muay Thai representative dropped his 2021 debut to SeungWoo Choi in February, sending him into this one on a two-fight slide.
Each of these men have shown glimpses of being entertaining, all-action additions in the middle of the featherweight pack, with the potential to climb much higher, only to have youthful miscues and inexperience halt their progress. The division is flush with talent, so it will be interesting to see which of these fighters will be able to right the ship this weekend, and which one will be forced to regroup once again.