UFC on ESPN 12 started with a back and forth contest between Youssef Zalal and Jordan Griffin, and it was Zalal who came away with his second octagon victory.
Just two weeks after his fight with Darrick Minner was called off at the last minute due to his opponent suffering from weight cut complications, Jordan Griffin was once again looking to get back in the octagon. Griffin, who had last competed in February at UFC Norfolk, picking up a win over T.J. Brown, was lined up against Youssef Zalal this time out. Zalal, an LFA vet, had earned a win in his octagon debut at UFC 247 against Austin Lingo.
Zalal opened with a low kick early, but soon enough, Griffin had tied things up along the fence and was working on taking his opponent’s back, with one leg hooked. Zalal pushed away, but Griffin landed a combination with a head kick as part of it. Zalal responded by clinching up against the cage, then tried a flying knee that nearly landed. Zalal began working for a takedown, but Griffin turned it around and slammed Zalal to the canvas, taking his opponent’s back just before the round ended.
Zalal was able to land to the body early in the second round and it stung Griffin. Griffin shot for a desperation takedown and held on for dear life as Zalal landed blows from top position. Zalal began to stand and Griffin was hanging off his side. Zalal went high with a kick and slipped, giving up position. Zalal was able to turn things around and drive Griffin to the fence, grinding out the round along the fence.
Straight punches were thrown back and forth, then Zalal opened up with a head kick and a slick combination to back Griffin to the fence. Griffin had his hands down and was eating punches. Griffin spun out, threw a combination and landed a big takedown. Zalal wall-walked but ended up giving up his back and Griffin spun around to mount. A window opened up for Zalal and the fight returned to the feet. Zalal landed a combination and Griffin answered with one of his own and included a head kick. Griffin got caught up high and shot for a takedown, but this time Zalal defended successfully. After a brief time against the cage, the fighters separated, but Zalal came right back in with a knee and a big elbow. Zalal rode out the fight with Griffin pushed up against the cage.
Youssef Zalal def. Jordan Griffin by Unanimous Decision (29-28)