Last night (Sat., Aug. 16, 2014) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Brad Tavares and Tim Boetsch squared off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 47 from Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine.
Both fighters came into the bout off of a loss, but were at completely different places in their careers. After getting manhandled and submitted by top-ranked contender Luke Rockhold at April's UFC 172, Maine native Boetsch had a ton of pressure on his shoulders at UFC Fight Night 47.
Tavares had won five straight mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts before losing a decision to bulldozing Olympic wrestler Yoel Romero at April's UFC on FOX 12.
Tavares was looking to bounce back strong, and the well traveled Boetsch was the perfect stepping stone on which to do so.
"The Barbarian" had seen better days in his fighting career after losing three out of his last four, a number that could have easily been five out of five if questionable decisions over CB Dollaway and Hector Lombard had not gone in his favor.
In the end, however, Boetsch showed us why why you can never count him out with a shocking knockout victory for his hometown fans.
Boetsch immediately went for a single leg takedown to start the fight. Tavares sprawled to clinch alongside the fence, Boetsch went for a judo trip that nearly worked, but Tavares persevered to land an elbow out of the clinch. The fight went back to the stand-up briefly until Boetsch clinched again, Tavares reversing to open up Boetsch with a couple sharp elbows. He hit "The Barbarian" with an uppercut and a sharp right hand, following with a second uppercut.
With a spring in his step, Tavares was finding his rhythm. He avoided a Boetsch punch, but soon ate a big right that dropped him briefly. The Hawaiian recovered to look for Boetsch's back on the fence, landing some huge knees to the head and body to close out the action-packed first round.
Tavares tried to manhandle Boetsch at the start of the second, pushing the action up against the fence. Boetsch landed a glancing knee and a right hand, but ate a sharp combo. Boetsch rushed for a takedown and was reversed yet again, the clinch game of Tavares appearing more than solid in this bout.
But all of the sudden, that didn't matter whatsoever.
Boetsch hit Tavares with a short left hook that hurt him badly, swarming with a short right hand that put Tavares out on the ground. A few ground shots sealed the deal for "The Barbarian," who channeled his UFC 144 win over Yushin Okami by coming from behind to finish a talented opponent.
The win probably saved his job, and it should also earn him a spot or two jump up the rankings. Boetsch is a tough competitor with an incredible ability to come back from pending doom.
He'll never beat top-ranked middleweights in UFC, but he is a great gauge against which to judge younger talent. A bout with No. 13-ranked Mark Munoz would be a good match up for Boetsch.
For Tavares, the loss is a devastating one. He was winning handily by all accounts last night, but instead he suffered the first finish loss of his MMA career. At only 26 years old, it's clear he has a lot to learn, but there is still a lot of time left to do so. A bout against someone a few spots outside of the Top 15 will most likely await Tavares when he looks to rebound from the highly disappointing defeat.
Tim Boetsch added another shocking comeback victory to his highlight reel by finishing Brad Tavares in front of his hometown fans at UFC Fight Night 47. With his job saved for the time being, who will be next for ‘The Barbarian?'