Live on Pay-Per-View: Middleweights: Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami (27-6) vs. Tim ‘The Barbarian’ Boetsch (14-4)
Long time UFC veteran Yushin Okami was the last man beaten by Anderson Silva, and the last man to beat him (via disqualification due to an illegal kick at ROTR 8, in 2006). Boetsch has faced some strong opponents, but this may be his toughest challenge yet. A four-time state wrestling champion, Boetsch will likely look to take Okami to the ground. Okami is a harder puncher, but with Boetsch’s strong chin, he’s likely to take it to the ground as well. Look for this one to end on the canvas with Okami finishing with the ground and pound, or Boetsch finding the submission. Here we go…
Round 1: Boetsch opens with an inside leg kick, as Okami gauges his range. Boetsch lands a nice leg kick to Okami’s side. Okami answers a few seconds later with a solid right jab that gives Boetsch some pause. They circle, and Okami tags him again with that stiff right jab. Boetsch is cut under his left eye. They trade whiffing jabs, but Okami gets the better of the exchange. Okami is more targeted and choosing his tactics better. Boetsch connects another solid body kick and soon follows it with an inside leg kick. Okami is able to slip that stiff jab and follows with a high kick. Okami comes in with jab combinations and Boetsch counters with strong right jab. Boetsch is cut under both eyes now. They dance for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Okami.
Round 2: They bob and weave through each others jabs. Boetsch steps inside, and Okami lands a breathtaking knee to the gut. They dance for a bit before Okami clinches Boetsch into the cage. Okami has double underhooks and slips down for a double leg takedown. Boetsch grabs his neck as he goes down to try to cinch in a guillotine. Okami takes him down and works his neck out of Boetsch’s grip. Successful, Okami lands in Boetsch’s half guard. Okami is working in an arm triangle from half guard, looking to isolate an arm. Boetsch’s arm isolated, Okami pounds on his defenseless body. After a brief attempt at an arm bar, Okami postures up in full mount and showers Boetsch with heavy blows until the end of the round. 10-9 Okami.
Round 3: Okami clips Boetsch with a jab to open the round and Boetsch tries to answer with a knee. Boetsch lands with a hook and a jab. Boetsch comes alive with a flurry of strong jabs and powerful hooks. Okami is hurt; he dances himself back into the cage and Boetsch goes right after him. Boetsch traps him against the cage and connects three solid uppercuts. Okami goes down, unable to defend himself. The ref comes in to stop the fight at :54 of the 3rd round. Joe Rogan calls it one of the best comebacks in UFC history.
Winner: Boetsch (TKO, Punches; :54 of the 3rd Round)