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UFC 172: Rockhold vs. Boetsch
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Published: 4/26/2014  at  2:53:00 AM
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UFC 172: Rockhold vs. Boetsch

Saturday, April 26 10:30 p.m. ET
Baltimore, MD

Luke Rockhold (11-2) vs. Tim Boetsch (17-6)

Middleweight bout
Line: Rockhold -800, Boetsch +550

Luke Rockhold is a heavy favorite on Saturday night as he goes up against Tim Boetsch at UFC 172 in Baltimore.

Rockhold comes into this match after a dominating victory against Costas Philippou on January 15 at UFC Fight Night. In that match, Rockhold was able to deliver a vicious kick to the body to get the knockout victory at 2:31 of the opening round. That was a big win for Rockhold after a disappointing first-round knockout loss against Vitor Belfort in his previous fight on May 18. Rockhold is a very confident fighter that is just entering his prime at 29 years old. Despite still being early into his career, he has victories against Keith Jardine, Tim Kennedy and Ronaldo Souza. With that experience and talent, Rockhold has a chance to become a force in the middleweight class. He will be going up against a talented fighter in Tim Boetsch, who also has some confidence after a tough split-decision victory against CB Dollaway on Oct. 19. However, as good as Dollaway is, Rockhold is a different animal. Boetsch may be able to compete early, but in the end, ROCKHOLD will prove to be too good.

Rockhold has 11 wins in his career, with five of them coming by way of submission. He also has four victories by knockout and only two wins by decision. All nine of those finishes occurred in the first round, and he's reeled off 10 wins in his past 11 fights. Rockhold will have a big advantage when it comes to landing strikes, as he lands 3.67 per minute compared to only 2.79 for Boetsch. He is not quite as accurate when throwing them (42%, compared to 51% for Boetsch), but Rockhold is a better striking defender at 64% (58% for Boetsch). Rockhold also has a height and reach advantage standing at 6-foot-3, while Boetsch is only 6-feet tall. If the California-born Rockhold is able to use his athleticism and strength, it will be very difficult for his opponent to score the major upset. The best chance for Boetsch to pull off the shocker is to come out swinging and deliver a vicious knockout.

The 33-year-old Boetsch has 17 victories in his fighting career, with nine coming by way of knockout. He also has three submission wins and five victories from the judges. He is 5-2 at the middleweight level and 8-5 in his UFC career. But in his past dozen fights, "The Barbarian" is 9-3 with two knockouts and two submissions. The biggest thing that Boetsch has going for him is this ability to deliver the vicious knockout punch. He cannot allow this match to go the distance, as Rockhold will have a huge advantage in cardio, and has been in many different types of fights in his career. Boetsch, who was born in Maine and currently trains in Sunbury, PA, does have a big advantage in grappling (1.81 takedown average, compared to only 0.22 for Rockhold). But he must stay on his feet, and off the ground. He has a chance to send a message to the UFC with a big win, but he must be ready early.

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