Lincolnville native Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch continues his pursuit of a possible UFC middleweight championship fight Saturday night when he takes on highly regarded Hector “Shango” Lombard in the co-main event of UFC 149 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.
This marks the UFC’s first foray into Calgary, but the UFC 149 card was sold out well in advance.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Boetsch, 15-4, is coming off a third-round technical knockout of former No. 1 middleweight contender Yushin Okami at UFC 144 in Japan in February.
The former four-time state individual wrestling champion while attending Camden-Rockport High School in the late 1990s is now 3-0 since dropping to the middleweight (185-pound) division after previously campaigning as a light heavyweight (205 pounds).
The 31-year-old Boetsch, who now lives in Sunbury, Pa., is considered the underdog against Lombard, a former Bellator champion who will be making his UFC debut.
The 5-9, 185-pound Lombard, a former Cuban Olympian in judo who is a naturalized Australian citizen, has a 31-2-1 record and enters Saturday’s match riding a 25-fight winning streak.
That fight, as well as the main event between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao for the interim UFC bantamweight title, will be available on pay per view.
Lombard and Boetsch are among several middleweights trying to position themselves for a title shot against reigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva of Brazil, who retained his crown with a second-round stoppage of No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen on July 7 at UFC 148 in Las Vegas.
The victory over Sonnen marked Silva’s 10th successful title defense and 15th consecutive victory.
Among other fighters contending to be Silva’s next opponent — likely this fall — are Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping. Bisping had been signed to fight Boetsch at UFC 148, but a knee injury and subsequent surgery forced UFC president Dana White to match Boetsch and Lombard at UFC 149 instead.