In a night that featured a trio of main-card fights in the middleweight division, fans witnessed a clash between two surging powerhouses when Tim Boetsch met Constantinos Philippou at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight was a late change, as Philippou stepped in for injured Serra/Longo teammate Chris Weidman on short notice.
Boetsch has found much success since dropping down from the light heavyweight division and has picked up 2012 wins against world-ranked Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. The victories moved his record to 4-0 in his new weight class,
Philippou is also 4-0 as a UFC middleweight, and his victories have also come against very game competition. In 2012, the Greek Cypriot won hard-fought decisions against Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee and former DEEP middleweight champion Riki Fukuda.
In the third round, Boetsch was clearly incapable of continuing. We aren't sure why, but Philippou had no problem taking advantage of the situation and won by TKO via ground-and-pound.
What We'll Remember about This Fight
That something was wrong with Tim Boetsch. Nothing about his fighting style suggests that pulling guard is a tactic of choice. Between rounds, we heard his corner talking to Tim about an undefined injury that he was battling.
What We Learned about Tim Boetsch
That his chin is fantastic. Philippou scored an enormous uppercut in the first round. Shortly after, a flurry saw Boetsch eat three straight punches that would have left most middleweights in a temporary coma, yet "The Barbarian" stayed upright.
I don't want to judge much else about Boetsch's performance, as something was clearly wrong after the first round.
What We Learned about Costa Philippou
That his takedown defense is very solid. Boetsch began looking for takedowns early and often in the first round but was unable to secure them. Boetsch did secure a double leg, but it was a well-timed counter while Costa was committed to a big punch.
What's Next for Tim Boetsch
This was the second consecutive fight for Boetsch where he looked absolutely terrible. I'll reserve judgement until after we find out what injury was plaguing him mid-fight, but it's hard to forgive that type of performance from a man ranked within a division's top five.
Boetsch should drop his level of competition tremendously. Give him a fight with someone along the lines of Rousimar Palhares or Tom Lawlor.
What's Next for Costa Philippou
Costa Philippou has stepped in for a fight on short notice once again, and this time, he improved his UFC middleweight record to 5-0. Beating a top-five middleweight is a major step toward a title shot, but he shouldn't be pushed too fast.
Another top-10 opponent is in order. Perhaps Hector Lombard or a debuting Luke Rockhold would make for a good matchup. I think the most likely opponent is Yushin Okami, who was also successful Saturday night.