The luckiest man in the middleweight division suddenly became the unluckiest in his fight with Costa Philippou at UFC 155.
Tim Boetsch was actually doing a pretty good job imposing his will on Philippou when an injured right hand and badly placed cut prevented him from continuing to execute his game plan. Philippou capitalized on his wounded opponent when he found himself in top position and Kim Winslow decided the noticeably crippled Boetsch had taken enough damage that night.
The loss takes Boetsch out of the title race, and we’ll probably never see him there again because he honestly shouldn’t have been taken so seriously in the first place.
After back-to-back victories over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch skyrocketed to the upper ranks of the middleweight division. These two wins, however, have something quite peculiar in common: They were both fairly lucky breaks.
The win over Okami was lucky because Boetsch was able to catch Yushin on the chin late in a fight in which he spent most of the time being dominated by Okami's grappling offensive. The win over Lombard was lucky because Hector’s Octagon jitters forbade him from unleashing the intensity of his usual offensive techniques at any point throughout the match.
Regardless of his heart and determination, Tim Boetsch didn’t earn his status as a top contender with the same quality of performance that led the other popular middleweights into title contention. In the aforementioned fights, Boetsch didn’t really display the level of talent that typically grants someone such respectable advancement in the UFC.
This is why what happened to Tim Boetsch at UFC 155 was bound to happen sometime in the near future.
Matt Serra got lucky when his looping right hand connected with the back of Georges St. Pierre’s head at UFC 69.
It can also be said that Mirko Cro Cop lucked out when Pat Barry let nerves and emotion severely impair his concentration at UFC 115.
Matt Serra didn’t really have the skills to beat Georges St. Pierre, and Pat Barry is currently a much better kickboxer than Mirko Cro Cop. But, as luck would have it, the underdogs were able to come out on top against people they simply could not compete with in terms of fitness and overall fighting ability.
The same thing happened when Tim Boetsch fought both Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. Matt Serra got completely destroyed when he faced Georges again, and it’s safe to say that the much more experienced Barry would have little difficulty taking the washed up legend’s head off should they fight again anytime soon.
What would happen if Tim Boetsch fought Okami and Lombard again? His opponent’s nerves or a lucky punch probably wouldn’t help him out so much for a second time. Boetsch’s victories over these two fighters put someone who doesn’t have what it takes to compete with the best in the division in the race for middleweight gold. Boetsch got lucky twice, which is very rare but is in no way meant to be mistaken for what probably should have happened in the fights with Lombard and Okami.
In other words, Boetsch never really belonged at the top of the middleweight division. He was simply there by accident. What happened at UFC 155 was inevitable. Sooner or later (most likely sooner), Boetsch’s luck would have run out and he would have met his fate at the hands of someone who actually deserves to be praised as an elite contender.
It’s almost better for Boetsch that he lost his status due to an injured hand and disrupted sight rather than getting blatantly out-classed by a real middleweight standout.
Now that he’s out of the picture, a middleweight who can truly pose a threat to the other fighters looking to face Anderson Silva somewhere down the line will take his place.
Unless he goes back to the drawing board and somehow exposes a level of talent and athleticism we weren’t aware of, Tim Boetsch’s time as a highly ranked middleweight has just about run out. A second attempt to build some momentum and climb back up the ladder will be of no avail, because even though he holds wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard, Boetsch is yet to show us that he actually has the grappling, striking or physical prowess to rise in the ranks of such a stacked division.
These two victories were earned primarily because of luck, not because he is a better fighter than either opponent.