UFC 162 fight card: Tim Boetsch vs Mark Munoz preview

Photos by Anne-Marie Sorvin and Kyle Terada via USA Today

How can either Tim Boetsch or Mark Munoz walk away with a victory this weekend? Find out below.

Two middleweights looking to get back on the right track will clash this Saturday night (July 6, 2013) as Tim Boetsch battles Mark Munoz on the UFC 162 main card in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Both men were top contenders last year and are trying to return to form. So how can each man pull it off?

Tim Boetsch

Record: 15-5 overall, 6-4 in the UFC

Key Wins: Yushin Okami (UFC 144), Hector Lombard (UFC 149)Nick Ring (UFC 123)

Key Losses: Phil Davis (UFC 123), Jason Brilz (UFC 96), Matt Hamill (UFC Fight Night 13)

How he got here: A natural athlete, Tim Boetsch tore through the local scene in New Jersey to start out his career before earning the opportunity of a lifetime when he stepped in on three days' notice to fight Vladimir Matyushenko at an IFL event East Rutherford. He would lose a decision to "The Janitory," but it proved that he could hang with the big boys.

Just five months later, "The Barbarian" was making his UFC debut against David Heath where he proceeded to lay a beatdown on the veteran, finishing him off with a series of knees and one of the most violent tosses you'll ever see, which won over a wide margin of MMA fans.

Perhaps thrown into the deep end too quickly, Boetsch would go 2-2 in his first UFC stint, losing to both Matt Hamill and Jason Brilz, but it would only take him one year away from the promotion where he stopped all three of his opponents to earn another invite.

He went 1-1 at light heavyweight, but was overpowered by Phil Davis, which convinced him to make the cut to 185 pounds. The decision proved a wise one as Boetsch won consecutive decisions over the likes of Kendall Grove and Nick Ring to go on the first UFC winning streak of his young career. The AMC Pankration fighter earned a major step up in competition and he dug deep, scoring a dramatic third round come-from-behind knockout against Yushin Okami earlier last year and then followed it up by surprising Hector Lombard in his promotional debut.

After a late notice opponent swap, Boetsch was ready to vault himself into the elite middleweights in the UFC, but a serious of unfortunate events led to his first loss at middleweight at the hands of Costa Philippou. Now, he'll be trying to get back on track against Mark Munoz this weekend.

How he gets it done: Tim Boetsch is not the fastest fighter out there, but he might be one of the strongest middleweights in the UFC. To take advantage of that, he needs to close the distance and get inside against Munoz and try to hurt him in the clinch.

If he can get inside, he possesses some powerful knees and his clinch is very dangerous, as we've seen him toss multiple people across the Octagon like rag dolls in his UFC career thus far. That won't be nearly as easy against Munoz who's a former champion wrestler, but it's still plausible.

If he can't get inside immediately, don't be surprised to see Boetsch throw some nice push or front kicks as he can really snap his lead leg out there surprisingly quickly. He flash knocked down Costa Philippou so he can definitely do something similar to Munoz.

If Boetsch's conditioning holds up, he's got a great chance.

Mark Munoz

Record: 12-3 overall, 7-3 in the UFC

Key Wins: Demian Maia (UFC 131), Chris Leben (UFC 138), Aaron Simpson (UFC 123)

Key Losses: Chris Weidman (UFC on Fuel TV 4), Yushin Okami (UFC on Versus 2), Matt Hamill (UFC 96)

How he got here: Mark Munoz got into MMA as a pure wrestler. He won an NCAA title while wrestling for Oklahoma State in 2001 while at 197-pounds. After two easy first round knockouts in the WEC, he made his UFC debut against Matt Hamill in the light heavyweight division and was knocked senseless by a Matt Hamill head kick. He smartly chose to drop to 185 pounds after that.

At middleweight, Munoz became famous for his ridiculously powerful ground and pound, blasting both Ryan Jensen and Kendall Grove on the ground before coming up short against Yushin Okami at the second UFC show on the Versus channel.

"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" teamed up with some of the best Brazilian strikers in the sport in a mutually beneficial relationship, as he helped fighters like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Anderson Silva shore up their wrestling while they helped him advance his striking skills. His hard worked paid off as the Reign Training Center owner was able to outstrike Aaron Simpson at UFC 123 and he followed it up by knockout out C.B. Dollaway in less than a minute.

The quick destruction of Dollaway thrust Munoz back into contender status and he solidified that position with a decision victory over former title challenger Demian Maia and then put himself right in the title hunt when he crushed Chris Leben.

After missing out on a huge bout against Chael Sonnen due to injury, he returned too early from the injury out of shape and was destroyed by current top contender Chris Weidman. After ballooning up in weight, he got back into good habits and is showing up ripped this weekend against Boetsch.

How he gets it done: Munoz's stand-up has improved leaps and bounds and it's been his footwork that has been the biggest key for him.

He's really been able to work on his angles and it allowed him to stand against the likes of C.B. Dolloway and Chris Leben while still having the threat of the takedown.

Against Boetsch, Munoz should be aggressive on the feet and ready to shoot in and try to dump "The Barbarian" on the ground at any moment's notice as I'm sure Boetsch, who was a four time state champion wrestler, will be thinking the same thing.

Landing solid shots on the feet and potentially mixing in huge ground and pound are definitely huge goals for Munoz here, he has the most devastating ground and pound in MMA and if he can get on top of Boetsch and keep him on his back, he can put a serious hurting on him.

Who will come out on top at UFC 162? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!

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