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Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre Barriault believes he's found recipe for UFC success

Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre (Powerbar) Barriault is a long way from his hometown of Gatineau, Que., and former training base of Quebec City these days.

Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre (Powerbar) Barriault is a long way from his hometown of Gatineau, Que., and former training base of Quebec City these days.

The 31-year-old mixed martial artist has called south Florida home since May and is looking to make the move permanent.

Barriault calls it a "big reset."

"Just looking for a new way of living and getting my hand raised for the rest of my career," he explained.

Barriault (13-4-0 with one no contest) has turned his UFC career around after losing his first three fights by decision in the promotion. He has won his last two outings and looks to extend that run Saturday when he takes on American Chidi (Chidi Bang Bang) Njokuani (20-7-0 with one no contest) on the undercard of a UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas.

The main event pits Sweden's Jack (The Joker) Hermansson, ranked sixth among middleweight contenders, against No. 7 Sean (Tarzan) Strickland of the U.S.

Barriault is one of four Canadians on the card, with Malcom (X) Gordon, a native of Calgary who now calls Toronto home, Calgary's (Mean) Hakeem Dawodu and Alexis (Ally-Gator) Davis, a native of Port Colborne, Ont. who now makes her home in California, also entering the cage at the UFC's Apex production facility.

Gordon (13-5-0) faces Ukraine flyweight Denys (Psycho) Bondar (14-2-0) while Dawodu (12-2-1) takes on American featherweight Michael (The Lone Wolf) Trizano (9-1-0). Davis (20-11-0) meets Lithuania bantamweight Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-2).

Barriault, his fiancee and their dog packed their car and headed south in May. They now call an RV park home.

"I have everything that I need here to be completely focused on my training and just living the good life," said Barriault, who is training out of Sanford MMA in Deerfield Beach.

The weather helps.

"I don't miss the winter," Barriault said with a laugh.

Barriault says he has found his groove in the UFC after feeling the pressure in his first few fights in the promotion.

"Right now I'm pretty happy with the way I'm fighting," he said. "Just being myself … Now I just focus on me, what I want in my life. Just make sure I have good preparation. Stay confident all the time. And be able to show all my skills during fight night."

"Now I think I have the good recipe — to know what I want and what I don't want," he added.

Barriault has demonstrated his power and stamina in his recent outings.

In winning a unanimous decision over South Africa-based Congolese fighter Dalcha (Champion) Lungiambula last September, Barriault had a 65-43 edge in significant strikes in the final round.

In March 2021, he had a 59-7 edge in significant strikes over Morocco's Abu (Captain Morocco) Azaitar in the third round, which was stopped with four seconds remaining.

His win before that, in June 2020 over Poland's Oskar Piechota, was turned into a no-contest after the Canadian tested positive for ostarine. Barriault blamed the positive test on tainted supplements, with the UFC backing his claim.

While finding no evidence of intentional use, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency handed him a six-month ban. 

"I never wanted to take something that is not good for me," Barriault said. "I see this like a speed bump. It gives me the fuel to prove that I've always been a clean athlete."

He says he has nothing to hide.

"They (USADA) can come test me every day,:" he said. "I don't care."

The 33-year-old Njokuani, a Bellator veteran, earned his UFC contract with a third-round TKO win over Brazil's Mario Filipe de Sousa on "Dana White's Contender Series" in September. He had lost three of his previous five bouts.

He is the younger brother of UFC veteran Anthony (The Assassin) Njokuani, who fought 15 times in total in the UFC and WEC.

"We know he's a good striker … More like a sniper," said Barriault. "He likes to be pretty when he strikes. Very accurate."

"He doesn't want to fight back on his heels so I just want to pressure him. Be the aggressor the whole fight," he added.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2022

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press