UFC 172: Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch preview and the prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Luke Rockhold attempts to continue the upward trend his career had been headed until a Vitor Belfort spinning heel kick set him back. Tim Boetsch will be looking to do the same (minus the supernatural athleticism) for UFC 172.

Luke Rockhold vs. Tim Boetsch Middleweight

Stacked, adjective: containing bouts relevant to the hierarchy of a division, often in the form of number one contender fights, and sometimes in relation to the title picture itself. Dana, you sly misogynistic promoter you...

I'm glad we're getting it now.

But this fight still rocks right? I hear one dude is a surfer, and the other guy's style is sometimes described as hillbilly judo. Sounds like a great matchup!

And it is.

Yes, I can only take so many digs at Dana for hyping up this card as one of the most stacked ever, but this speaks to the UFC's failure to promote their product, not whether this card contains some very solid matchmaking.

But TUF! Key stoned slackers in their first year of college demographics! Bankruptcy and Let me Bang!

Are you okay? Of course Dana and Co. deserve credit for what they've done but since the NHL playoffs are still going I'm going with another hockey analogy: Randy Carlyle is the Stanley Cup winning coach of the 2007 Anaheim Ducks. Yet he's been a quantifiable disaster for the Leafs. One triumph doesn't discount a hundred failures. Just saying.

We are previewing a fight right?

Apologies. Dana White is just making it hard to justify reasons for watching this sport when not even a week can go by without feeling thoroughly embarrassed about something. This fight, however, is not so embarrassing.

Boetsch was on a ridiculous run in 2011 with wins over Nick Ring, Yushin Okami, and Hector Lombard. Since then he's had a tough run. Costa Philippou destroyed his cornea, Mark Munoz comfortably controlled him, and C.B. Dollaway ending up the more impressive fighter between the two despite the win for Tim. And now he's up against Luke Rockhold, who quickly obliterated the same fighter that pounded his sclera.

Wait a minute...this is starting to sound like a mismatch. Luke's only loss since 2007 was to Vitor Belfort who was clearly high on Captain America's experimental serum.

I think it is.

Boetsch doesn't get enough flack for being inconsistent. He's a solid fighter, but amidst some of those big wins are also big losses: Jason Brilz, and Matt Hamill for example. He's the MW version of Matt Brown but without the current winning streak.

What makes him dangerous is his durability. The Okami fight was a great example of both his strengths and limitations. He's not overly technical, so Okami mostly dominated the fight with the jab. But once he found his way into the clinch, he was able to land devastating uppercuts in tight. He's the kind of fighter who functions the exact same way in round 1 as in round 3.

Rockhold is just an awful matchup for Beotsch. The only thing limiting Luke's ceiling as a fighter are the injuries. He only fought once in 2010, 2011, and 2013. But he's as dynamic as they come.

The big wins over Ronaldo Souza and Tim Kennedy say a lot (also highlights why I felt like Rockhold would beat Vitor, and why I'd still pick him in a rematch). He knows how to use his reach well, incorporating an array of roundhouse kicks in his arsenal and he does so while constantly on the move. This will be tough for Boetsch who is more of a plodding fighter. Tim needs the fight in close quarters where he can slow the game down. Rockhold won't afford him that luxury.

So then I should ignore the ridiculous +702 betting odds for Tim?

Of course not. The concern for Rockhold is that while his boxing is above average (has a good right hook in particular which was showcased against Kennedy when he knocked him down momentarily with it), he leaves himself wide open for counters. Boetsch will be waiting for this counters, and Luke's aggressive combinations will play into Boetsch's strengths where his best bet is catching Luke in the middle of a flurry.

Despite how frail his body is, I think Luke has a pretty good chin. Vitor just happened to land one of the most ridiculous kicks you'll ever see. Rockhold won't have much difficulty with Tim on the ground, being a gold medalist at the Mundials as a blue belt and all. But I don't think Tim has to worry about being submitted.

Go Stars!

Thanks brother.

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