Report: Middleweights now meet in Calgary on July 21
MMA Junkie first reported news of the switch earlier this week. The Bisping-Boetsch fight has been removed from the UFC.com event page for UFC 148, where it had been a part of the main pay-per-view card.
UFC 148 is scheduled for July 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The original plan was for a bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber to headline. But when the Anderson Silva–Chael Sonnen middleweight title fight couldn’t take place in a Brazil soccer stadium as planned, the fight was moved to the UFC 148 main event. Cruz-Faber was bumped to co-main status. And with fights between Tito Ortiz–Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin–Cung Le also on the main card, the call apparently was made to shift Bisping-Boetsch two weeks down the line.
UFC 149 will take place July 21 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. It will be the UFC’s first trip to Canada’s third largest city. The main event is expected to be a featherweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo and Erik Koch. Also on the card for the UFC’s first trip to Canada in 2012 will be a heavyweight bout between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo; a light heavyweight fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Thiago Silva; and a welterweight bout between Thiago Alves and Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Bisping (22-4, 12-4 UFC) is coming off a tough unanimous decision loss to Sonnen in a middleweight title eliminator fight at January’s UFC on Fox show in Chicago. Sonnen, on the strength of that win, got his rematch with Silva. Prior to the loss to Sonnen, Bisping had put together a four-fight winning streak that included a unanimous decision win over Akiyama and knockouts of Jorge Rivera and Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a fight on the TUF 14 Finale after the two coached against each other.
Bisping started his UFC career as a light heavyweight, winning the 205-pound competition on Season 2 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He started his UFC career 4-0, and his pro career 14-0, before a split decision loss to Rashad Evans sent him packing to the middleweight division, where he’s been fighting ever since. His only losses have been to Evans, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Sonnen, and Henderson was the only one to finish him.
Boetsch (15-4, 6-3 UFC) is riding a three-fight winning streak, including a Comeback of the Year-candidate knockout win against Yushin Okami in February at UFC 144 in Japan. In that fight, Boetsch was dominated for the first two rounds and came out in desperate need of a stoppage in the third. He got it with an onslaught of punches that stunned the crowd at the Saitama Super Arena. Prior to that win, Boetsch had unanimous decision victories over Kendall Grove and Nick Ring, both at middleweight after dropping down from light heavyweight following a submission loss to Phil Davis at UFC 123.
Boetsch is 4-1 in his second stint with the UFC after going 2-2 with the promotion in 2008-09. Twelve of “The Barbarian’s” 15 wins have come by stoppage – his three decision wins have all come in this current second stint with the UFC.