Back in June at UFC Vegas 3, a card that seems like forever ago thanks to the slow march of the coronavirus pandemic, Canada’s Marc-Andre Barriault picked up what he thought was his first win inside the octagon. However, a positive drug test later, for ostarine, a common contaminant in athletic supplements, and the former TKO middleweight and light heavyweight champ was instead sitting with an 0-3, 1NC record. Which brings us to UFC 260 on Saturday, where Barriault faced Abu Azaitar, with his job very likely on the line.
Like Barriault, Azaitar has had his own skirmish with USADA. But while Azaitar served just a seven month suspension after testing positive for banned substance tamoxifen, it had been nearly three years between fights for the Moroccan.
Early on, it showed, in the form of Azaitar being extremely aggressive. As if trying to make up for lost time, Azaitar was seen punching his way in and putting Barriault against the fence. The Canadian reversed with an underhook, but landed low with a knee, bringing the action to a halt. On the restart, Azaitar landed to the body with a knee, and once again pressed Barriault into the cage. In a clinch, Azaitar peppered his opponent with shots. Back in the open, the former kickboxer landed low with a kick, and proved to have the edge at range. Low kicks would continue throughout, though Barriault simply ate them time and again. More knees from Azaitar would come later in the round; his clinch work was giving Marc-Andre Barriault some real trouble.
Round two saw Barriault open with a knee up the middle, while Azaitar had his hands going. Early in the frame, the Canadian was flashing more kicks, then landed several uppercuts in the clinch. Azaitar then rocked Barriault, forcing him to retreat. Barriault recovered, and Azaitar, despite having the edge on the feet, worked for a takedown. Fatigue, perhaps. Barriault reversed, and when they did go to the ground, they were back up immediately. Azaitar was starting to look winded, and in the back half of the second round, Barriault appeared to be coming on strong. Barriault began just winging uppercuts and hooks, but his best work was in the clinch. Round three promised to be interesting.
It very much was. Unless you were Abu Azaitar or his corner. The third round was dominated by Marc-Andre Barriault, who appeared on his way to a victory early. A short shot seemed to wobble Azaitar, who wound up on the ground, possibly tripped up by the ref, who halted the action to retrieve Azaitar’s mouthpiece. That led to confusion as to whether the fight might be stopped. The ref would restart them with Barriault on top, which led to the Canadian moving to mount and battering his opponent. Azaitar would scramble out, only to wind up mounted again. Azaitar was bloodied, battered, and Barraiult was finally find the finish with seconds left in the round, which was looking very much like a 10-8.
THAT IS IT!
🇨🇦 @PowerBarriault DOMINATES RD 3 and closes the show.
— UFC (@ufc) March 28, 2021
Official Result: Marc-Andre Barriault def. Abu Azaitar by TKO, Round 3, 4:56