Chris Curtis celebrates his UFC win

Chris Curtis and Marc-Andre Barriault will meet in a middleweight UFC 297 showdown on this weekend’s main card.

Chris “The Action Man” Curtis, 36, is currently the #14 ranked middleweight in the UFC. He joined the UFC later in his career but climbed into the rankings quickly while accruing a 4-2 record, 3 of which have come via knockout.

Unranked and 5-5 in the UFC, Marc-Andre “Powerbar” Barriault, 33, is on a two-fight winning streak as he enters the UFC cage in his home country on Saturday night.

Betting Odds

Curtis is nearly a -200 favorite in most books, but a cheaper price can still be found in some places.

Fight Breakdown

Curtis, despite his whinney antics in post-fight interviews and on social media, is a handicapper’s dream because he is incredibly consistent both in fight style and performance.

Curtis is a low-output but powerful southpaw boxer who uses a defensively sound high guard, and stout takedown defense allows him to predatorily move into his preferred range where his heavy hooks can do devastating damage.

If he faces an opponent willing to move forward linearly or fights passively so that Curtis can walk forward, Curtis often wins and wins empathically. Even in fights where he may be losing the volume battle early, if he is given his preferred style, Curtis often finds the one-hitter-quitter necessary to win.

However, against lateral movement, varied striking outside of boxing range, or technically sound counterstrikers, Curtis struggles significantly to get his offense going. In these fights, he often loses the volume battle en route to a decision loss- consistency in both style and production.

Barriault is a fighter with two identities, neither of which he’s been able to implement with consistent success, nor has he been able to meld them together successfully.

Early in his career, Barriault was a low-volume robotic striker who was dead set on finding the power strike necessary to end the fight quickly. Then, upon facing fighters he couldn’t bully and knockout, Barriault lost 3 in a row.

Following his losing streak, “Powerbar” reinvented his style to rely less on the knockout. He started to ramp up the volume and look to overwhelm his opponents with output and well-timed clinch wrestling.

Given his power was likely over-exaggerated because of poor competition, Barriault has found more success with his new volume striking when facing a higher level of competition. In either case, though, Barriault’s striking is robotic and basic, often dependent on his size and technique rather than speed and fluidity.

Barriault is 5-5 in the UFC because he is powerful enough to knock out glass jaws and has enough volume to overwhelm poor strikers, but his losses come when he faces fighters with a reliable chin, versatility, and athleticism or speed.


This fight is tailor-made for Curtis to find consistent success, even after bouts of inactivity. Barriault’s slow and linear movements should, pun intended, walk right into Curtis’s preferred pocket boxing.

Once in the pocket, Curtis will have the edge in speed, power, and combinations. Barriault will need to be all the way out, at range, or all the way in, in the clinch, if he hopes to negate Curtis.

But, Barriault has not shown an ability to do this reliably. As long as Curtis doesn’t drop too many minutes in each round to Barriault’s volume, he should win a decision, if not secure a late-round knockout.

Best Bet: Curtis to win (-170) – bet now at MyBookie

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