Lincolnville native Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch has a new opponent for his UFC 155 bout scheduled for Dec. 29.
Boetsch, unbeaten in four fights since moving into the middleweight (185-pound) division last year, will face Costantinos “Costa” Philippou on the card to be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Philippou is a replacement for one of his training partners at the New York-based Team Serra Longo, undefeated Chris Weidman. Weidman, ranked second among UFC middleweights by ESPN.com with his 9-0 record, suffered a shoulder injury during training that subsequently required surgery. He is expected to be sidelined for four months.
The injury was the second major blow Weidman has suffered in recent months, coming not long after Weidman’s Long Island home was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
The 33-year-old Philippou (11-2 with one no contest) last fought on July 7 in Brazil on the UFC 148 card, where he scored a unanimous decision victory over Riki Fukuda.
The win was the fourth straight for Philippou, who subsequently was scheduled to fight Canadian Nick Ring at UFC 154 in Montreal, Quebec, on Nov. 17, only to have Ring drop out just hours before the fight due to illness.
“Philippou is a heck of a tough fighter,” said Boetsch this week on the cable television shot Inside MMA. “Obviously on paper it’s not as big a fight as Weidman was and you hit the nail on the head, a Weidman fight would have certainly established a number one contender. Maybe this fight doesn’t carry that same weight but I go into every fight with … 100 percent dedication to that opponent, and Costa certainly is not anyone to be taken lightly.”
Boetsch (16-4) is ranked eighth among UFC middleweights by ESPN.com and is described as a “brand new fighter” since dropping down a class from the light heavyweight ranks midway through this year.
The former four-time state champion wrestler at Camden-Rockport High School in Rockport during the mid- and late 1990s has powered his way into a top-10 ranking with victories this year over Yushin Okami in February in Tokyo and and over former Bellator champion Hector Lombard at UFC 149 at Calgary, Alberta, on July 21.
“It’s definitely been a good year,” said Boetsch during the television interview. “I definitely made the right choice dropping down to middleweight and training with (trainer) Matt Hume and (strength and conditioning coach) Joel Jamieson. It’s definitely been successful and I’m looking to end the year strong with another win.”
The UFC 155 card will be headlined by a heavyweight title rematch between champion Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.
Peterson to seek second title
Jesse Peterson had so much fun winning one state MMA championship, he’s now seeking to win a second.
The Rumford native, who won the New England Fights promotion’s Maine middleweight title in September, will move up from 185 pounds to 205 pounds in an effort to win the NEF Maine light-heavyweight title when he squares off against Greg Rebello of Providence, R.I., in the main event of the Fight Night VI card scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
The 31-year-old Peterson (7-2 with one no decision) is a six-year MMA veteran who won the NEF Maine middleweight title with a come-from-behind, second-round submission victory over Cody Lightfoot at Fight Night IV, also held in Lewiston.
“It’s been a privilege to hold the Maine State MMA Middleweight title for the past few months,” said Peterson, ranked eighth in the 185-pound pro division by NortheastMMA.net. “I am excited and motivated by the prospect of battling an accomplished, dangerous striker in Greg Rebello and potentially bringing home another title to Rumford, Maine.”
The 30-year-old Rebello (14-4) has competed in the MMA ranks for the last eight years and currently is ranked third among pro light heavyweights in the region according to NortheastMMA.net. He is coming off a first-round submission victory (rear naked choke) over Chris Guillen on the CES-Real Pain card held in Providence on Oct. 6.
A bout between Peterson and Rebello has been in the works for a year, but an earlier matchup was scratched after Rebello was injured during training.
“I am really excited for this opportunity to fight for the NEF title in February,” said Rebello. “Since their first show, I have heard nothing but great things about NEF both from the way the promotion treats their fighters to the number of fans at each of their events. Some time ago I was offered a fight with Jesse and for one reason or another that fight never happened so when my management team at Combat Sports Agency contacted me with the offer to fight for the Maine State title against Jesse, we jumped at it.
“Jesse is a tough, well-rounded fighter, and I am sure this will be a fight in which we both show up planning to walk home with that NEF belt.”
Another bout already announced for Fight Night VI will be a flyweight (125-pound) battle between highly regarded Kody Nordby of Woonsocket, R.I., and Ernesto Ornelas of Portland.
The 19-year-old Nordby, a former high school wrestling standout known as “The Norwegian Assassin,” is 1-0 in the professional ranks after going 4-0 as an amateur. Ornelas, 2-0 as an amateur, is 0-2 in the pro ranks, most recently losing to Hassan Mahmood by rear naked choke during Fight Night III in Lewiston last June 16.
Windham native Jamie Harrison (4-1) also will be on the card in a lightweight bout against Yann Oliveira (2-0) of Renzo Gracie BJJ in Derry, N.H.
Harrison, who now lives and trains in Jacksonville, Fla., scored four straight wins on Fight Night cards this year but was injured while training for an NEF Maine State lightweight championship fight against New Yorker Dez Green in November.
“Being hurt in October was a huge disappointment,” said Harrison. “I trained hard for a year straight with no injuries and was fortunate to be victorious in all my fights for NEF in 2012. The injury was not severe, but it was enough to keep me from getting ample time to train for my five-round fight against Dez.
“I am now back to 100 percent physically and hope to start off 2013 the same way I did in 2012.”