UFC 172: Tim Boetsch Knows Bout With Luke Rockhold “Carries a Lot of Weight”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Thanks to a decision win over CB Dollaway at UFC 166 in October, Tim Boetsch remains a top fifteen ranked middleweight, but “The Barbarian” is quick to admit that’s not where he wants to be. In 2012, Boetsch was in the title shot mix thanks to a four fight win streak, but losses to Costa Philippou and Mark Munoz set him back in the rankings. Thus, if the former light-heavyweight can take out the UFC’s #5th ranked Luke Rockhold on Saturday, a return to the coveted top ten might come next.
“I was really excited to get the call to fight Luke again,” Boetsch relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio. “He did injure his knee and had to pull out of our last fight, so I was a little disappointed in that, but it’s going to be a tough fight. I’ve been training hard and I’m really looking forward to it. Luke’s coming off a win, and so am I, and I think there’s a lot riding on this fight.”
In January, Rockhold quickly stopped Philippou with a pounding kick to the body, to rebound from the stoppage loss he incurred versus Vitor Belfort in May, 2013. Rockhold joined the UFC last year armed with a nine fight win streak, as well as the Strikeforce middleweight title.
“There’s very high expectations for Luke, and I certainly have very high expectations for myself,” Boetsch furthered. “I was in a position not too long ago where I was within striking distance of potentially getting a title shot, and I think this fight carries a lot of weight. The winner of this fight is going to be in very good position to be in title contention.”
As Boetsch noted, Rockhold joined the UFC with considerable hype, not only because of his record but his abilities as well. While the American Kickboxing Academy member is a well rounded fighter, his striking game in particular, has drawn considerable praise over the years.
“He certainly is a very well versed striker,” said Boetsch. “His kicks are very powerful and he’s got a lot of different kicks that he utilizes. That being said, I don’t feel like I need to get this fight to the ground to win it. I certainly don’t want to fight him right at his range. That just makes sense.”
“He’s one of the taller guys in the middleweight division, and for some reason I feel like I’m always fighting guys that are taller than I am,”the 33 year-old and 5’11 tall Boetsch added. “My first middleweight fight was against Kendall Grove, so fighting really tall guys is nothing new to me. This is going to be a tough fight…Luke is a very high level fighter, a former world champion who knows how to strike, so he’s going to do everything in his power to keep me at the end of his punches and kicks.”
While Boetsch doesn’t believe taking Rockhold to the mat is a necessity, it will be interesting to see how the fight plays out. Boetsch is a former collegiate wrestler, who has turned to his takedowns and top game to score wins in the Octagon before.
“Yeah; he’s a super athletic guy,” Boetsch said while discussing Rockhold’s takedown defense. “He’s been working a lot on his wrestling, and obviously I wouldn’t be surprised if he does mix it up a little bit, and throws some takedown attempts my way. Certainly as an effective striker you need to be able to stay on your feet, so that’s something he works on all the time.”
UFC 172 will be hosted by the Baltimore Arena and will feature light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones taking on Glover Teixeira.