Jordan “The Beverly Hills Ninja” Wright is 2-2 in the UFC with all four fights ending by knockout inside of seven minutes. Marc-Andre “Power Bar” Barriault began his UFC tenure with three straight decision losses. Then, following a no contest, he rattled off back-to-back wins. In Barriault’s most recent fight, he was knocked out in 16 seconds.
Despite taking the fight on less than 10 days’ notice, Barriault is a respectable favorite.
- Barriault: -180
- Wright: +155
Wright might not be a legitimate ninja, but he is an all-action type of fighter. To put his aggression and action-orientated fight style into perspective, Wright averages an impressive eight significant strikes landed per minute; yet, still, he has a negative strike differential. Wright will bounce forward with a wide-based karate stance and look to swing until someone drops. At range, Wright has varied and effective kicks but minimal at-distance punches. He carries his hands low, leaving his chin exposed, in favor of strikes from odd angles. Once the distance is closed, Wright has heavy knees from the clinch. Most of his attacks come from his kicking and knee game, yet he is still able to land with variety, volume, and power. If Wright can drop his opponent, he quickly pounces on top and will look to get on the back to secure a rear-naked choke. Either on the feet or the mat, Wright looks to finish fights early. Unfortunately for him, this all-offense approach has backfired in 2 of 4 UFC fights where we’ve seen “Beverley Hills Ninja” dropped. He carries his hands low, will bounce into range without letting his hands go to provide protection, and carries his chin high. Those three tendencies are dangerous, especially in a division heavy power. Ultimately, Wright’s fights often end inside of round 1; it comes down to if he will land or be caught first.
Barriault is also a fighter who carries his chin high; but, he has a high guard that protects him from being dropped. Even in his last fight, his first knockout loss, Barriault was finished by a straight shot that split his high guard. Prior to that shot, the Canadian fighter has shown a reliable chin and ability to eat heavy strikes. Offensively, Barriault is methodical and technical. He fights behind a solid jab and throws in combination well. When he lands cleanly, he has the power to end the fight. However, Barriault has only won by knockout once in the UFC and has lost 3 decisions. This is because he can be reluctant to let his hands go. Despite his statistics, Barriault is a fighter who can be overly defensive and allow his opponent to dictate the pace and location of the fight. His sometimes-timid approach coupled with his flat-footed movement often makes him a stationary target. Typically, Barriault will look to survive round 1 by relying on his defense and chin. Then, if his opponent gasses out, Barriault will rack up the volume as the fight progresses. This approach requires an ability to eat shots without being finished. If his chin is as good as his history shows, Barriault’s approach could prove successful again.
This fight comes down to whether or not Wright can get the finish inside of the first round or round and a half. He has the aggression and power necessary to capitalize on Barriault’s tendency to stand still and be hit. But, if Wright can’t get the finish, his gas tank will likely deplete, and Barriault will take over as the fight goes on. I don’t like betting on a guy whose path to victory is survive and outlast, especially when facing a fighter with such blind aggression. Wright might not be able to crack the chin, but I like him to find the finish.
Prediction: Wright inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.