Two men with four fight winning streaks in the middleweight division battled each other last night (Dec. 29, 2012) as Constantinos Philippou took on Tim Boetsch on the UFC 155 main card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Boetsch had previously been slated to take on Chris Weidman in a potential number one contender fight entering this contest, but an injury to "The All-American" left him instead with a hungry contender who had yet to score his signature win.
Philippou earned that signature win last night.
Early on, Boetsch was in control, scoring with push kicks and pressuring Philippou by pushing him into the fence and occasionally taking him down. "Costa" could not get comfortable early as Boetsch repeatedly shoved him into the fence, worked knees in the clinch and tried to drag him to the canvas.
When that wasn't working, he also was holding his own in the stand-up department by mixing up his attack with punches and kicks, which balanced out against Philippou's overall boxing technique advantage. The Cyprus-native did land a huge uppercut in the round as Boetsch pressured forward, but Boetsch responded by dropping him with a beautiful front kick at the end of the first round.
Boetsch seemed to be in control, but then everything went wrong.
In between rounds, it appeared that Boetsch had broken his hand as his coach Matt Hume implored him to ignore it and work for takedowns and clinch attacks. Boetsch's problems compounded quickly after an early second round clinch which saw him collide heads with Philippou and open up a gnarly cut on his forehead.
Last but not least, an inadvertent eye poke left Boetsch unable to see and he probably rushed back into the fray too quickly instead of taking as much time as necessary before returning to the action.
From this point on, Philippou was in complete control. Boetsch was no longer a threat with his punches, he couldn't see well, he couldn't shoot in effectively from the outside and he couldn't get a good grip on his opponent in the clinch. Philippou attacked with accurate boxing and when Boetsch flopped to his back, he punished "The Barbarian" with some heavy ground and pound.
Boetsch would take a beating from here on out and when the second round was over, he probably shouldn't have come out for the third round, but he told his corner he didn't want to quit. When he couldn't secure a takedown early in the third round, it was only a matter of time before some Philippou ground and pound put an end to his night.