UFC 135: Under the Radar

Nick "The Promise" Ring

Middleweight battle getting no love

Full disclosure: outside of the main event, I think this whole card is flying under the radar.

Jon Jones and Quinton Jackson have gotten the attention they command as champion and challenger, not to mention being legit stars. Outside of the main event, however, there are probably a lot of people struggling to recall who else is fighting on the main card.

Don’t even ask about the preliminary portion of the event.

That’s really too bad too, because while the names aren’t anywhere near as recognizable as some of those that make up the undercard in two weeks in Houston, there are still some quality fights, including the middleweight tilt highlighted here.

NICK RING vs. TIM BOETSCH

Nick Ring (12-0, 2-0 UFC)

WIN UFC 131 James Head (Submission, Round 3)
WIN UFC 127 Riki Fukuda (Unanimous Decision)
WIN AMMA 1 Yannick Galipeau (Submission, Round 1)

Tim Boetsch (13-4, 4-3 UFC)

WIN UFC 130 Kendall Grove (Unanimous Decision)
LOSS UFC 127 Phil Davis (Submission, Round 2)
WIN UFC 117 Todd Brown (Unanimous Decision)

WHY I LOVE THIS FIGHT

Both of these guys are intriguing additions to the middleweight division in their own way.

Boetsch made the decision to leave light heavyweight after getting physically dominated and submitted by Phil Davis last November. He took the time to re-shape his body and looked very good in his 185 pound debut at UFC 130.

He had no trouble with Kendall Grove in May, using his superior size and strength to out-muscle the lean Hawaiian in what would be his final UFC appearance. As a fighter lacking true one-punch knockout power (from what we’ve seen), Boetsch is much better suited in a division where he can maximize his natural physical advantages.

As much as his win over Riki Fukuda in Australia was a controversial decision, at the end of the day, Ring is still undefeated. He earned a solid win over James Head in June, battling through a close first round to control the second and dominate the third before finishing with a rear naked choke at 3:33 of Round 3.

The Canadian was viewed as one of the favorites during Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter before a knee injury sidelined him. For whatever reason, a lot of that perceived promise and hype faded away in the time following the show, and was further scuttled by his fight with Fukuda. Make no mistake about it: Ring is a talent worthy keeping an eye on.

The contrast between the two—stylistically and in terms of the way they’re viewed—is what makes this bout intriguing.

While Ring is seen as a kinda, sorta, maybe guy who could potentially make a little run up the rankings, Boetsch gets slapped with the grinder label and left as an anonymous middle of the pack middleweight.

But he’s the more physically imposing of the two—though Ring is two-inches taller—and his wrestling-based, drag-you-to-the-canvas-and-keep-you-there approach can effectively nullify Ring’s edge in the striking department.

Additionally, both these guys rank high on the “Need to See More” scale. That is, they’ve each had good moments, but I haven’t quite made my final decision on them as of yet. Maybe after this one I’ll have a more conclusive idea about each guy.

Regardless, you’ve got an unbeaten fighter and a guy who looked good making the move down to middleweight for the first time fighting in a division that still needs added depth.

Sounds like a fight worth watching to me.


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