Prior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look at a preliminary fight at UFC Fight Night 108 as Americans Bryan Barberena and Joe Proctor square off.
Bryan Barberena (Record: 12-4, -330 Favorite, Power Ranking: C)
The high-volume MMA Lab product has been fighting in the UFC since 2014. In the world’s largest promotion, he’s compiled a 3-2 record with quality wins over Warlley Alves and Sage Northcutt. In his last outing, he was outwrestled by Colby Covington and lost a wide decision on the scorecards. Barberena is not the most skilled, most talented, or the best athlete, but he’s a fighter that can certainly be described as hard working. The 6-foot tall lightweight tends to be a slow starter in his fights. However, once round two starts, he really picks up the pace. His striking output is one of the best in the division at a whopping 5.17 significant strikes per minute. Not only does he land with output, but he’s accurate at 48 percent of strikes landed. Barberena doesn’t allow his opponents much time to breathe; he constantly presses forward fighting at a very high pace. It’s this work rate that sets him apart from competition and has afforded him the opportunity to be competitive in the UFC. In addition to his striking, Barberena has a decent ground game. It’s mainly predicated on taking advantage of tired opponents, but if he’s able to wear out an opponent he can threaten with submissions. Unless Barberena faces a tremendous wrestler and can’t stop takedown attempts, he’ll most certainly be dominant in a third round of a fight, making him a tough out for most fighters in the division.
Joe Proctor (Record: 11-4, +270 Underdog, Power Ranking: D+)
The Massachusetts native and Lauzon MMA product first appeared in the UFC as a competitor on Season 15 of The Ultimate Fighter. He’s amassed a 4-3 record in the UFC overall. He comes into his UFC Fight Night 108 bout on the heels of a first-round knockout loss to Magomedov Mustafaev in December 2015. Proctor is a crafty fighter similar in the mold of his teammate Joe Lauzon. His stand-up has improved since he started in the UFC, and he has proven to have decent hands. He’s not a guy who is going to knock out an opponent with punch but is someone capable of landing with combinations. He lands with above average volume (3.46 strikes per minute), but on the flip side, his striking defense is rather porous absorbing 3.70 strikes per minute. Proctor isn’t much of a wrestler, as he hasn’t secured a takedown during his time in the UFC, but if he is able to latch on to a neck, he is a threat to finish.
In a matchup of UFC veterans, Barberena takes on Proctor at UFC Fight Night 108. This is a matchup that comes down to volume and activity. These are two fighters that are capable of landing combinations, but neither has shown an ability to land one big punch to alter a fight. With that said, Barberena lands over 1.5 significant strikes more per minute than Proctor. Look for the MMA Lab fighter to outland his opponent in at least two of the three rounds and win a clear decision or possibly a late stoppage. I’m not confident in a decision just because of Barberena’s ability to turn it on late in fights. Barberena has very little to fear in this fight from Proctor and that’s why I’m very confident he gets his hand raised at the end of this fight. Even at -330, I see an opportunity to bet Barberena. While the method is unclear, he’s a safe bet to win and include in parlays at this event. He’s not facing an opponent with significant knockout power or a stifling wrestling game. In this type of matchup, Barberena excels.