Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (16-4-0) vs. Costa Philippou (11-2-0-1)
This was supposed to be a potential number one contenders match between Tim Boetsch and Chris Weidman, but an injury to Weidman changed that. Luckily, Costa Philippou was able to fill in for his training partner, and now has a chance to steal all of Boetsch’s hype with a win. This match is a hard one to predict since both fighters are so evenly matched.
Boetsch was a decent light-heavyweight fighter, but he did not hit his stride until he dropped to 185. “The Barbarian” garnered a ton of attention after his bout with Yushin Okami, because before that loss Okami had only ever been beaten by title challengers and title holders. When Boetsch unleashed those uppercuts in the third round and knocked out Okami he became a real contender, and secured that position with a win over Bellator import Hector Lombard.
Philippou has had a slow rise in the octagon after a loss to Nick Catone in his debut, but it is not like any of his other fights have been easy. Wins over Ultimate Fighter winner Court McGee, Jorge Rivera, and Japanese import Riki Fukuda fill his resume. His best win has to be over Jared Hamman, who he knocked out cold. That shows the type of power Philippou possesses since Hamman’s chin is very durable.
This bout will mostly be contested on the feet. While Boetsch is a former division one wrestler, he likes to use his wrestling to keep the bout standing. Philippou is probably the cleaner striker with greater knockout power, but Boetsch draws more fighters into brawls and that is where he pours on the punches. Hard to say who wins with both of them having big upsides. This may just be a match where whoever can force their opponent into their fight wins.
The Bottom Line:
Philippou is a good striker, but we have not seen him face someone with the grit of Boetsch. Look for this bout to be close, but for Boetsch to walk away with a clean decision win.