Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight veterans Ronaldo Souza and Tim Boetsch will scrap this Saturday (Feb. 11, 2017) at UFC 208 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Despite a long series of pretty great performances, “Jacare” has struggled to take the final step and secure a title shot. Some of that is out of his hands, but the Brazilian has another opportunity to state his case in this match up. On the other hand, Boetsch went on a pretty serious slide that saw him finished in four of five bouts, including an attempted journey to 205 pounds. Nonetheless, Boetsch persevered, and he’s since scored a pair of knockout wins over quality opponents.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record: 22-5 (1)
Key Wins: Gegard Mousasi (UFC Fight Night 50), Yushin Okami (UFC Fight Night 28), Francis Carmont (UFC Fight Night 36)
Key Losses: Yoel Romero (UFC 194), Luke Rockhold (Strikeforce: Barnett vs Kharitonov)
Keys to Victory: Souza is one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu players in mixed martial arts (MMA), and he’s a fantastic athlete to boot. Souza’s wrestling and striking have grown to be formidable as well, but Souza’s combination of brilliant technique and raw power is still his greatest asset.
Opposite “The Barbarian,” Souza should feel safe in apply his usual strategy of timing a power takedown and then dominating from top position. Boetsch is a solid wrestler, but historically, skilled men who have really committed to taking him down have succeeded. From top position, Souza doesn’t have to worry about Boetsch’s habit of turning the tide with big punches. Instead, he can break Boetsch down until a submission presents itself, much like Thales Leites did a couple years ago.
If “Jacare” can avoid getting clipped with something crazy early in the bout, it shouldn’t be all that difficult for the Brazilian to hand Boetsch his fourth submission loss.
Key Wins: Rafael Natal (UFC 205), Yushin Okami (UFC 144), Hector Lombard (UFC 149), Brad Tavares (UFC Fight Night 68)
Key Losses: Luke Rockhold (UFC 172), Thales Leites (UFC 183), Dan Henderson (UFC Fight Night 68)
Keys To Victory: Boetsch is a tough and powerful fighter with an interesting striking game. He’s at his best when able to land takedowns or dominate the clinch with his physicality, which is something he’s returned to in his last couple bouts.
Boetsch may be a massive underdog, but he’s come through from that position before. It won’t be easy, but Boetsch does have the power in his hands to potentially end Souza’s night, particularly if the Brazilian fatigues. More than any technical strategy, it’s important that Boetsch remain aggressive and play his game. If he attempts to work an outside kicks and counters game — which he is decent at — “Jacare” will bide his time and wait for a moment to explode on Boetsch with a takedown or big punch.
Either way, it’ll probably work.
Instead, Boetsch needs to attack first and be on the aggressive. He may just be the tighter inside striker, and he certainly hits hard. If Boetsch is pushing forward with punches and willing to attack from the clinch, there’s a chance he could hurt or wear down Souza.
Bottom Line: It’s an important bout for the Middleweight division.
Souza’s body of work has earned him a title shot. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always matter to the UFC, so Souza is forced into fights like this with everything to lose. If Souza comes up short, it really hurts his momentum and will force Souza back in a big way. Considering how difficult it’s been for him to earn this first title shot, that’s a major problem for the former Strikeforce kingpin.
Meanwhile, a win keeps him in the exact same position.
As for Boetsch, this is a much bigger opportunity. He’s genuinely looked good in his last couple bouts, which has been somewhat surprising, as many had written him off already. If he can follow those two performances with a massive win here, it would do wonders for his career and push him into the title mix. On the other hand, a loss is nothing to be ashamed of. “Jacare” is perhaps the best in the world, so Boetsch isn’t going to lose any ground regardless of what happens on Saturday night.
At UFC 208, Ronaldo Souza and Tim Boetsch will go to war. Which man will have his hand raised?
Source:: mma mania