Luke Rockhold looks to continue his quest towards a UFC middleweight title shot on April 26 when he squares off against Tim Boetsch at UFC 172 in Baltimore. Rockhold is looking to build off of a sensational Knockout of the Night performance at Fight Night 35, while “The Barbarian” will also be seeking a second straight victory. It’s a rebooking of a bout that had been initially scheduled for UFC 166 in Houston but was scuttled because of a Rockhold knee injury.
The former Strikeforce champion made amends for a hugely disappointing Octagon debut by becoming the first man to stop Costa Philippou via strikes in their main event clash in Georgia. Rockhold put on a leg-kick clinic and produced a first-round finish after a thudding kick to the liver that sent Philippou to the canvas in agony. It was the impressive display that he needed after being knocked out by Vitor Belfort in his first UFC appearance.
Rockhold has an 11-2 career mark and while extremely confident in his stand-up game these days, he possesses strong submission skills and solid grappling as well.
Boetsch has made 13 UFC appearances during two stints with the promotion. He’s produced a 5-2 record while competing as a middleweight after making the drop down from the 205-pound ranks. His most recent effort was a hard-fought split decision victory at UFC 166 against C.B. Dollaway. It was a badly-needed win for Boetsch as it ended a two-fight skid.
Boetsch possesses plenty of power and has 12 knockout and submission wins in 17 career triumphs. He owns victories over Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami. His dramatic third-round knockout of Okami at UFC 144 in Japan was a truly remarkable come-from-behind victory.
This shapes up as a solid matchup that has plenty at stake for both competitors. Rockhold will be looking to continue his positive momentum and once again prove that he’s one of the more dangerous fighters in the division, while Boetsch will be attempting to show that he can still be a legitimate top-10 fighter and a factor within the middleweight ranks.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports