UFC on ESPN+ 37: Youssef Zalal vs. Ilia Topuria Play-by-Play

Looking for his fourth win in 2020, Youssef Zalal fought short-notice opponent Ilia Topuria on Saturday’s UFC card. The fight went like this.

Bout 8: Youssef Zalal (10-2) vs. Ilia Topuria (8-0) (Featherweight)

Topuria attempted a takedown in the second minute of the fight, throwing Zalal down while in a clinch a minute later. Topuria was quick to move into full mount. Topuria took the back of Zalal. Topuria started to look for an anaconda choke in the fourth minute of the fight. He transitioned into a guillotine choke with a minute left in the fight. He switched back to an anaconda choke that Zalal was able to escape. The fight returned to the feet in the closing seconds. Zalal pulled guard while trying for a guillotine choke as the round ran out of time.

Zalal put Topuria against the cage while looking for a takedown early in the second round. Topuria scored a takedown in the third minute of the fight. He passed into half guard after Zalal attempted a triangle choke from the bottom. Topuria looked for a guillotine from mount. Topuria moved into full mount while still trying for a choke. Zalal started to bleed while on the ground. Topuria got on Zalal’s back with a minute to go. Zalal escaped the position, hopping on the back of Topuria while still on the feet. Topuria was able to get Zalal off his back putting him on the ground. Zalal looked for a kneebar before the round ran out of time.

Topuria caught a knee for a takedown to start the third round. Topuria got on the back of Zalal, attempting a rear naked choke from the position. Zalal escaped quickly and went into a clinch on the feet. Zalal took the fight to the ground in the third minute of the round, going down with a guillotine choke. Topuria escaped and took full guard on top. Topuria got on the back of Zalal in the fourth minute, trying for a rear naked choke again. Topuria was retreating and looked tired when the fight returned to the feet. Topuria caught another knee for a takedown before the fight ran out of time. Judges picked Topuria as the winner after three rounds (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

RESULT: Ilia Topuria def. Youssef Zalal via Decision, Unanimous

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Zalal 9 9 9 27
Topuria 10 10 10 30

Live coverage of the entire show can be viewed here.

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