Fight Study (3/27/21)
UFC 260 will begin with a middleweight fight between Morocco’s Abu Azaitar and Canada’s Marc-Andre Barriault. This fight is narrowly handicapped with Barriault being the slight favorite. Their salaries in DFS contests reflect the closeness of their odds with Barriault being slightly more expensive on DraftKings with a salary of $8,200 compared to Azaitar at $8,000. Both fighters are priced at $15 on Fanduel. This fight has been scheduled for three rounds and the fight is a -160 favorite to go the full fifteen minutes in the octagon.
Azaitar is clearly the fighter with the better success of late in this matchup with a 5 fight win streak coming into Saturday’s contest. In fact, he is undefeated over his last 10 fights with a draw back in 2014 being the only fight he failed to win over that span. He has a career record of 14-2-1 with 7 wins by KO/TKO, 1 win by submission and 6 wins by decision. He has not fought since making his UFC debut over two and a half years ago where he won the favor of the judges over Vitor Miranda in July of 2018. His 32-month layoff is a major concern, however, and this is largely the reason why he will be an underdog at UFC 260. He has lost just twice in his career. He lost his first ever MMA fight in 2009 after a disqualification for an eye gouge and he lost again in 2012 when the doctor stopped the fight after the first round. He has never lost a decision in his career and has won every fight that has gone past the first round.
Barriault has struggled since making his UFC debut in May of 2019. After losing his first 3 fights in the promotion, he got his first win over Oskar Piechota in June of last year only to have the fight overturned and ruled a no contest decision after he tested positive for ostarine, an unapproved bodybuilding supplement. He has a career record of 11-4 with 1 no contest decision and has 8 wins by KO/TKO and 3 wins by decision. He has never been finished in his career with all 4 career losses coming by decision. He will be looking for his fist win in the UFC on Saturday. Although he is 4 inches taller than his opponent on Saturday, he gives up 2 inches in reach to Azaitar. Prior to making his UFC debut, Barriault had been on a 8 fight win streak with 5 wins by KO/TKO over that span.
This fight is very difficult to predict given Azaitar’s long layoff and Barriault’s recent issue with banned supplement use, and there is not much telling what these fighters will look like on Saturday. However, both fighters made weight on Friday and I am counting on both fighters being prepared for this one. The oddsmakers have set the lines closely between these two and I do expect this to be a closely contested fight. Both fighters are capable of finishing opponents with 15 wins by KO/TKO between them. At the UFC level, however, Azaitar is the fighter who has fared better (albeit over just a one fight sample size). What is more clear is that Barriault has struggled at this level and that indicates to me a fighter who may not be ready to compete with elite fighters.
This fight is very unpredictable, but it does give the impression of a fight that might have fireworks in store. Both fighters have something to prove and both fighters have questionable recent histories. They both possess knockout power and that figures to remain the same despite the questions that surround their circumstances. This fight is far too unpredictable for cash play in my opinion, but in GPP contests I am looking to feature this fight in my lineups with regularity. I will give Azaitar a slight edge in exposure but will look to play both sides of this one in multi-entry contests. Although this fight is handicapped as a favorite to go the distance, I think this one has a chance to buck the odds with an early conclusion while being largely overlooked in DFS contests.
For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 260 on March 27.
UFC 260: FIGHT #10, Azaitar vs Barriault
For Fight Study on UFC 260: FIGHT #9, Morales vs Young, click HERE.