Tim Boetsch may have found a home at 185 pounds. | Photo: Dave Mandel
Tim Boetsch (13-4, 4-3) vs. Nick Ring (12-0, 2-0 UFC)
The Matchup: Boetsch’s drop to middleweight in a decision win over Kendall Grove gave his career a needed jumpstart. Meanwhile, Ring looks to nab this third win in the UFC and bump his unbeaten ledger to an impressive 13-0 overall.
Boetsch’s wrestling pedigree is impressive but did not seem to translate well at 205 pounds, perhaps because his losses there were to larger and better-pedigreed college wrestlers. At middleweight, his debut against Grove was a well-executed piece of strategy. He was able to use his takedowns and steady ground-and-pound while avoiding Grove’s submission attempts, and he held on down the stretch as the effects of the first-time weight cut clearly sank in. Boetsch’s cut should be easier now that he has one under his belt. That could mean bad news for fellow middleweights because he can bang on the feet, as well as take them down.
Ring remains something of a question mark after a recurring knee injury scrapped a potentially impressive run on Season 11 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” A sketchy decision win over Riki Fukuda may have had something to do with ring rust in his UFC debut. Ring’s standup is stout and he shows a solid understanding of grappling, particularly jiu-jitsu and submissions. He is likely to get hit hard in this match against Boetsch, who comes in with the confidence of believing he is the better wrestler with heavier hands.
Ring has to make this a precise, technical fight. The more it degenerates into a wild brawl, especially with clinching and dirty boxing, the more it favors Boetsch, who seems to have a knack for landing big in those kinds of fights. Ring has to use leg kicks, as well, which Boetsch can be a little slow to block, while changing angles, circling and making “The Barbarian” expend energy in costly assault.
The Pick: Boetsch will eventually force the fight to the mat and get aggressive with his hands, all while avoiding a couple of threatening submission attempts. His size and power from the top should be enough to squeak by with a close decision win.
Continue Reading » Next Fight: Cole Escovedo vs. Takeya Mizugaki