Middleweight talents Julian Marquez and Marc-Andre Barriault faced off in a banger on Saturday at UFC 285.
Marquez, ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis,’ tried to bounce back from the first KO loss of his career in 2022 with a big performance against the Canadian, Barriault. For his own part, Barriault has been known for using his pace and cardio to wear down opponents, resulting in his ‘Powerbar’ nickname, but it had not worked in two of his last three fights as he was finished in both of those losses.
The winner of this preliminary card fight would set themselves up to move forward in the middleweight division.
Following the opening bell, the fighters came out with Julian jabbing and Barriault trying to counter. The striking exchanges were not exactly beautiful as they tried to find the timing — their heads almost clashed or did clash several times — but the pace was high and Julian Marquez, especially, was landing.
Barriault looked for the counter left hook constantly but usually did not find himself in the right range to land it. The Canadian was looking to put his high volume style on display, but could not get going as most of his shots simply did not land. Julian was much more technical and accurate, despite sometimes putting himself off balance. Marquez did most of the pressing forward and began to land his right hand cleanly around the midpoint of the round. When Barriault tied up to smother his pressure, Marquez just uppercutted him in the clinch.
Barriault came back from several flurries from Marquez to land half-decent shots of his own, so he was not out of the fight, just being obviously and out-struck by a decent margin. The final minute of the round was much more even, as Marquez’s pace slowed a bit, though he did land one more good combination before the end.
Marquez’s new head coach, Mark Montoya, deserved plenty of credit for how his fighter looked in the opening five minutes. But what happened in round two was a different story altogether.
The second frame began with Marquez partially landing shots. Barriault had begun to use more kicks at the end of round one and that continued here; he was therefore able to press forward more and retreat less. Marquez looked much less confident and in shape than he did in round one, but he was still able to land on Barriault, though the Canadian absorbed way more damage than he did in round one.
Barriault was finally able to get his pace going somewhat, and hoped to make it snowball as the round went on. Barriault landed big elbows on Marquez in the clinch around the halfway mark but Julian came back swinging big hooks. Barriault responded by swarming Marquez and hitting him with short shots in the clinch while Marquez turtled up. Marquez survived but he lost his mouthpiece and was hurt and bloodied. He tried to survive and tie up Marc-Andre but he kept getting stuck on the fence and hit a lot. Many of the shots did not land but still Julian simply could not get off the fence and did not fight back. He remained turtled up as Barriault’s volume continued, forcing Mark Smith to stop the fight with forty-eight seconds left in the round. ‘Powerbar’ lived up to his name once again, gaining another victory with pure cardio, pace, and dirty boxing.
Official Result: Marc-Andre Barriault def. Julian Marquez by TKO (punches), Round 2, 4:12