The last few months have been anything but pleasant for Canada’s top light heavyweight, Todd “The Black Hulk” Stoute. Not only has he seen two fights fall through at the last minute, but he has also been waiting on the sidelines to make his debut under the bright lights and in front of the worldwide audience of TKO. “The last few months have been a learning experience. I’m coming off another main event win, putting my win streak at 4” said Stoute, referencing a recent victory over UFC veteran Matt Van Buren. “This is where I was the last time I lost focus on my career.”
Barring any further bad luck, that will all change come September 8 as the man from Toronto is set to headline TKO40 in what can only be qualified as a superfight when he squares off with middleweight star Marc-Andre “Powerbar” Barriault who will be going up in weight for the occasion. Focus will be the key here for Stoute who will be competing on the UFC’s worldwide digital platform for the first time and is looking to make a statement.
When asked about his next opponent, Stoute was quick to contrast him with the man he was supposed to make his TKO debut against last January, UFC and Bellator veteran Maiquel Falcao. “I trained hard for the Falcao fight and was ready to put on a show. Personally, I believe him to be more dangerous than Barriault based on skill and fight IQ. Still, I take each fight seriously and will fight every opponent with the same drive and ferocity.”
Where things get even more interesting with this matchup is when one looks at the streaks both men are on. First we have Barriault, TKO’s #1 middleweight, who has won 4 fights in a row and most recently avenged his only career loss. On the other hand, we have Stoute who hasn’t lost in 3 years.
The striking game is the key in this fight and how both men will manage their output. Barriault has devastating knockout power, especially when it comes to counterpunching. Stoute’s strong suit is undoubtedly the consistency with which he hits his target, causing more and more damage as the fight goes on. This is the perfect recipe for a classic fight fans will love, a treat Stoute would be more than happy to deliver. “This is gonna be the best fight of the night. If he wants to punch, he will be outgunned. If he wants to try and take me down, he will be sorely disappointed. The strategy is the same: execute the mission.”
“The Black Hulk” has fought many talented opponents throughout his near 8 years as a professional mixed martial artist, however none have had as good a record as Barriault’s 7 wins and 1 loss, a split decision loss at that. When asked if “Powerbar” represented the biggest challenge of his career, Stoute quickly turned the tables: “There is no doubt he has skills that have worked for him. Whether he’s the toughest challenge of my career is debatable but one thing is not: I am most definitely his!”
Tickets for TKO40 are still on sale – call the ticket office now at 514-700-0999!
– story by Patrick Lono, TKO