Welcome to the UFC: Austin Lingo and Youssef Zalal

UFC octagon girls
UFC octagon girls, UFC Vancouver Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

UFC 247 is just a few days away, headlined by light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Dominick Reyes. In the co-main event, flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko will fight Katlyn Chookagian. Jimmie Rivera was supposed to fight Marlon Vera but an injury forced Rivera out, and the fight was altogether scrapped. To close that gap, the UFC would add another fight featuring a pair of newcomers in Austin Lingo and Youssef Zalal.

Austin “Lights Out” Lingo
Dallas, Texas, US
Fortis MMA
2 Submissions

How will Lingo fare in the UFC:

Outside of two decision wins, Lingo is a true finisher with five first-round stoppages. Lingo has finishes that range between 0:13 to 2:26. He’s a feared striker who holds a lot of impact behind his hands. Lingo mainly don’t show much in his arsenal as he usually ends the fight in under a minute. He does have good fundamentals though, in those fights he was able to showcase it all. Lingo has good footwork moving just slightly in and out after he lands. He throws a heavy right cross and throws a pretty gone one-two usually missing with the initial strike to land with the follow up. Lingo also likes to throw heavy hooks to the body as well. His takedown defense is somewhat suspect as he’s been taken down easily before. Lingo off his back has a good guard however, and has even locked in a guillotine just posturing up. He seems to have at least decent jiu-jitsu but it’s hard to tell how good it is. Overall, this is an excellent signing and Lingo potentially has a high ceiling. Prediction: future bonus winner.

Youssef “The Moroccan Devil” Zalal
Denver, Colorado
FacoryX Muay Thai
5 Submissions

How will Youssef Zalal fare in the UFC:

At no point do I think the UFC should sign someone coming off just one win. In his two defeats though, Zalal arguably won both fights and one day he was destined to be in the UFC. Zalal is a well-rounded fighter who is dangerous on the feet and the mat. On the feet, he excels at range with excellent lower calf kicks and a long jab. He will also show his diversity throwing spinning kicks and switch kicks. Zalal loves to throw his knees using them stepping in and to lunch in the air with the flying knee. Zalal has solid jiu-jitsu and even though his takedown defense needs improvement he is dangerous off his back. He has long arms which plays part in why he’s so dangerous attacking the neck. Zalal has a lot of potential and at a young age still he the skills to go far in the future: Prediction- future top 15.

How does Lingo and Zalal match up:

First of all, this is a great fight and it’s a shame one of these guys has to suffer defeat. On the feet, it’s between the power of Lingo and the technicalities of Zalal. Zalal definitely has the capability to keep Lingo at range with his reach advantage. It only takes one significant punch from Lingo to shut the lights out, but whether he can do that to Zalal is the question. Zalal has been rocked before but has never been finished. Lingo has not shown much ground game but so you can just about guarantee that Zalal is much stronger in that department. The pick is Zalal just because he has more ways to win