In what seems like a very odd matchup, can Tim Boetsch land a knockout blow at UFC 208 before succumbing to the ground game of Jacare Souza?
The top of the UFC Middleweight division is a clogged mess. Champion Michael Bisping and number-two contender Luke Rockhold are both out with knee injuries. Top contender Yoel Romero, who defeated former Champion Chris Weidman with a stunning flying knee at UFC 205, has been promised the next title shot.
This leaves third-ranked contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza left hanging. Souza fought only once in 2016 – a TKO victory over Vitor Belfort. He lost a close split decision to Romero in December 2015, but before that, he was undefeated since a 2011 title fight with Rockhold in Strikeforce. His fight against Tim Boetsch at UFC 208 could be the one to guarantee him his shot at the UFC title.
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Boetsch has had a mixed record in the Octagon but is riding high off two knockout wins over the late Josh Samman and Rafael Natal. He has also shown an uncanny ability to come back from seemingly impossible positions. The best example of this was his astonishing comeback victory over Yushin Okami.
The odds on this fight are heavily in Souza’s favor – and rightfully so. The Brazilian’s elite grappling pedigree alone is enough to ensure victory against most middleweights. But he has been developing a striking game as well, which he uses brilliantly to close distance on opponents. He is also extremely mentally tough, allowing his arm to be broken in a Jiu Jitsu match against Roger Gracie many years ago.
Boetsch has two distinct advantages: 1) Knockout Power 2) Certainty That Jacare Will Come Forward.Any takedown at all could spell the end of the night for Boetsch. That’s how good Souza’s grappling is. And it would be difficult to see Boetsch winning a technical striking battle with Souza.
Any takedown at all could spell the end of the night for Boetsch. That’s how good Souza’s grappling is. And it would be difficult to see Boetsch winning a technical striking battle with Souza.
Boetsch needs to catch him coming in. If he can land power, he can dramatically change the fight, and begin a ferocious striking avalanche. If not, Tim will most likely be in for a very long night of grappling with the talented Jacare, or a very short one.