Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight scrappers Marc-Andre Barriault and Krzysztof Jotko will throw down this Saturday (July 27, 2019) from inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Barriault may have lost his Octagon debut back in May, but he did so in style, putting on a very entertaining performance in a back-and-forth fight. Though he’d likely prefer a more straightforward slugfest, he’ll be faced with another grinding wrestler in Jotko. On the other hand, the Polish athlete rebounded from a trio of losses last time out, relying on his wrestling skill to cruise to a decision victory. Prior to that series of losses, Jotko was climbing the ranks and closing in on title contention, so it’s clear he’s now working to regain that lost position.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Adam Hunter (TKO 44), Brendan Kornberger (TKO 43)
Key Losses: Andrew Sanchez (UFC Fight Night 151)
Keys to Victory: Barriault is a fairly straight forward fighter. The French-Canadian is a bruiser, a man who throws hard punches in combination whose largely willing to take a shot to land one. Last time out, he was out-wrestled by Sanchez, but Barriault showed promise overall by defending quite a few takedowns and making it a real war.
Jotko is well-rounded, but he’s generally a fighter who prefers to be all-the-way-in or all-the-way-out — he tends to avoid the middle distance where a fighter like Barriault is most dangerous. Therefore, Barriault’s goal here is to close distance into the punching range without overextending himself in the process.
Barriault would be wise to focus early on staying behind the jab. If he can establish his lead hand early, he stands a better chance at building combinations later in the fight rather than relying on single power shots. In addition, countering kicks would be a wise strategy for Barriault as well. Generally, if the leg is swept past or blocked firmly, the defending fighter has an opening to throw hard while it’s still difficult for the kicker to level change into a takedown.
Key Wins: Thales Leites (UFC Fight Night 100), Tamdan McCrory (UFC Fight Night 89), Brad Scott (UFC Fight Night 84)
Key Losses: David Branch (UFC 211), Uriah Hall (UFC Fight Night 116), Brad Tavares (UFC on FOX 29)
Keys to Victory: Jotko is a better kickboxer than his recent stoppage losses would indicate, but his best attribute remains his wrestling and top game. If able to take down his foe, Jotko’s game tends to work really well, as all the pieces fit together perfectly.
He should be able to take Barriault down.
One tactical decision I’d like to see Jotko make for this match up is to pursue the takedown from the level change rather than the clinch. He’s strong from both positions, but Barriault proved fairly powerful in the clinch last time out, so there’s no reason to willingly take it there without first trying a double leg in the center of the cage.
Otherwise, patience is a virtue. If Jotko sticks to long distance strikes and makes use of his range, it’s unlikely that Barriault will be willing to hang back for too long. There’s no need for Jotko to force the issue: let Barriault come forward and give up the first takedown, which will set up Jotko for plenty of success.
Bottom Line: It’s a thoroughly average Middleweight fight.
Barriault is a fun striker, but he really wasn’t matched up favorably here, particularly if UFC was hoping for the Canadian to rile up the home crowd with a wild slugfest. More likely, Barriault is in another tough fight where he’ll be forced to dig himself out of a hole on the strength of his toughness and power. It’s a rough situation: a win over Jotko in his second UFC fight would be quite impressive, but a second loss could see him released.
As mentioned, Jotko is hoping to climb back up the ranks, and based on his recent matchmaking, UFC has started him from the bottom once more. In short, he needs another long win streak to begin receiving high-profile match ups once more, particularly since Jotko doesn’t always bring the excitement. A second victory here is a start, but it’s still a long road back to the top of the division.
At UFC 240, a Middleweight clash between Marc-Andre Barriault and Krzysztof Jotko will open the main card. Which man will have his hand raised?