Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bryan Barberena prediction | UFC Fight Night 239 1

Since 2017, Gerald “GM3” Meerschaert, 36, has only won fights via submission. That is seven straight wins by submission in the middleweight division. During that 6.5-year stretch, GM3 has gone 7-8.

Bryan “Bam Bam” Barberena, 34, had a 3-fight win streak for the first time in his career between 2021-2022. He followed that up with his first three-fight losing streak. In the UFC, “Bam Bam” is 9-9.

Betting Odds

Meerschaert is a solid favorite over Barberena on Saturday night.

  • Gerald Meerschaert: -230 (BetUS)
  • Bryan Barberena: +180 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Meerschaert is a flawed and physically limited fighter, but he is experienced, game as hell, and highly productive in his skillset. Meerschaert has always been slow, robotic, and hittable on the feet; and, especially at 36, his speed, movement, and defensive awareness will likely continue to be issues for him in the cage.

Where Meerschaert shines, though, is staying composed in vulnerable positions, working through adversity early, and intelligently creating opportunities for his specialty: top game submissions. Typically, Meerschaert will fight a close round 1, where he is tagged early as he works to time and catch up to the speed of his opponent.

Often having better cardio than his opponent, “GM3” will look to make the fight dirty, grimy, and tiring through clinch fighting. After round 1, Meerschaert tends to be more successful in closing the gap, working inside, and getting ahold of his opponent. Once he gets ahold of them, Meerschaert will clinch and methodically work to get his opponent down or find the back.

Once he is in position for a submission, more often than not, “GM3” will find the neck, get the squeeze, and go home with a win. However, fighters with even average defensive grappling, lateral movement, or the cardio to keep a high pace often give Meerschaert issues. If that fighter also has the power to put Meerschaert out, he is hittable enough to get clipped and finished.

Barberena, likely in part because of his haircut but more because of his early career, is often seen as a brawling power puncher who looks to slug power punch for power punch until someone drops. However, Barberena hasn’t gotten a knockout win since 2018 and hasn’t gone to a war for a few years before that. Instead, the new version of Barberena focuses more on volume striking, clinching, and winning fights with sloppy but effective cardio.

Typically, Barberena, still trusting his chin, will pressure forward with a basic jab followed up by wide hooks as he looks to put a consistent pace on his opponent and break them late. His issue, though, is his grappling. Barberena is a poor defensive wrestler and grappler whose submission defense is lackluster at best.

Given that his striking style is pressure-focused, Barberena often finds himself clinched against the cage after his barrage and pressure pushes his opponent back to the cage. Once he gets an opponent pushed back, he would do well to keep striking rather than clinch; but, time and time again, Barberena will engage in the clinch.

When clinching a striker, Barberena can safely make his opponent carry his weight as he lands enough elbows and knees to hold position. However, when he clinches a grappler, Barberena tends to get submitted fairly easily.


Meerschaert should win this fight. Stylistically, Barberena’s primary weakness- grappling- is “GM3’s” primary strength. Barberena’s power is over-exaggerated, with only one knockout in the last six years. If Meerschaert is to win, which I expect, the best bet is for him to win by submission. Meerschaert hasn’t won a fight in any other way other than submission since 2017 and Barberena has been submitted in 2 of his last 3 fights.

With Meerschaert’s most likely path to victory being submission, I expected that the prop would be juiced north of -150; however, in most books, Meerschaert by submission is sitting at near pick’em odds. I will happily and confidently play GM3 by submission over Barberena. I expect him to find the neck in round 2 or 3 once Meerschaert gets Barberena’s timing down and can clinch more successfully.

Best Bet: Meerschaert to win by submission (+110 at BetUS)

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