Lincolnville native Tim Boetsch will fight fellow American Chris Weidman in a battle of mixed martial arts middleweight contenders at UFC 155 scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 29, in Las Vegas.
Boetsch, who now lives in Sunbury, Pa., is 16-4 overall and currently ranked fifth in the world in the 185-pound division.
The former Camden-Rockport High School wrestling star, who this summer was inducted into the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame, has won eight of his last nine bouts, including four in a row since dropping from the light-heavyweight (205-pound) division to middleweight.
The 31-year-old Boetsch is 2-0 this year with victories over Yushin Okami in Japan last February and Hector Lombard in Calgary, Alberta, in August.
In that most recent match, Boetsch ended Lombard’s 25-match winning streak by decision despite breaking his right foot while executing a kick during the second round.
Weidman, from Baldwin, N.Y., is 9-0 overall, including 5-0 in UFC matches after a TKO over Mark Munoz earlier this summer. He currently is ranked fourth among UFC middleweights.
Weidman had been hoping for a title shot against longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva of Brazil before the end of the year, but with Silva not planning to fight again until 2013 Weidman was signed to fight Boetsch in what essentially is an elimination bout among top-five contenders.
“I think I’m the number one contender in the division but with Anderson not fighting for the rest of 2012, I want to stay busy and keep getting better,” said Weidman. “I think I’m the best middleweight in the world and I’m going to prove it against another top contender.”
The Boetsch-Weidman bout will precede the UFC 155 main event, expected to be a heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.
Wood faces busy autumn
Ray “All Business” Wood has had a quiet summer in the cage, but he’s about to get real busy.
Wood, a former wrestling standout at Bucksport High School who now lives in Bangor, will have two fights in five weeks beginning next month — the first a battle of top amateur lightweights in the Northeast, the second his professional debut.
Wood, 4-1 and ranked third among amateur lightweights (145-pound maximum) by NortheastMMA.net, will fight top-ranked Sophanarith “Soap” Am (4-0) of Braintree, Mass., in the main event at “Unleashed,” the first card to be staged by the new Coliseum to the Cage promotion.
That fight is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 12, at the SportsZone in Derry, N.H.
Barely five weeks later, Wood will make his professional debut against a yet-to-be determined opponent on the Fight Night V card set for Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
“The fight with Soap Am will be a great test for my pro career,” said Wood. “My goal all along has been to fight for the No. 1 ranking in the amateurs and then turn pro, and this gives me a chance to do both.”
Wood, who last fought in April, was scheduled to fight Am at Fight Night IV in Lewiston last weekend. But that fight fell through due to an injury to Am, as did a replacement bout at 150 pounds against Jason “Skip” Libby.
“That’s just the way it was,” said Wood. “For the last card I was looking to take on anyone I could get, at 150 or 155 pounds or even at 160 or 170, but there was just no one there.”
Wood is one of four fighters from Young’s MMA slated to fight on the 12-fight New Hampshire card. Aaron Leary and John Cunningham will make their amateur debuts, Leary in a 155-pound bout against Jared Laganas, and Cunningham in a welterweight (170-pound) match-up against Daniel Phelps.
And Kevin Barrett, with two amateur fights under his belt, will face Angel Reyes in a 135-pound clash.
Bangor native wins pro debut
Bangor native Emily Peters-Kagan made a successful professional MMA debut last weekend, earning a unanimous decision over Lynae Lovato as part of the Jackson’s MMA Series held in Albuquerque, N.M.
Peters-Kagan, 5-2 as an amateur before turning pro, controlled the early stages of the match on the mat and withstood a late comeback bid by Lovato to score a 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 victory.
Peters-Kagan, 31, attended Washington Street School in Brewer and Mary Snow School
in Bangor before moving to Portland at age 11.
She has trained at Jackson’s MMA since 2010.
Fight Night V to have 5 p.m. start
One of Peters-Kagan’s stablemates at Jackson’s MMA, Carlos Condit, will fight Canadian legend Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight (170-pound) championship at UFC 154 on Nov. 17 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
St. Pierre, the reigning champion from St. Isadore, Quebec, is 22-2 and has won nine straight fights since his last loss in 2007.
Condit is 28-5 with 13 wins in his last 14 bouts.
Because of the UFC 154 card, the Fight Night V card scheduled for the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Nov. 17 has been moved up to a 5 p.m. start, according to New England Fights co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.