LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Tim Boetsch’s quest for a world mixed martial arts title shot suffered a setback Saturday night when the Lincolnville native lost by third-round technical knockout to Costa Philippou in their middleweight bout at UFC 155.
The loss was the first in five bouts since Boetsch dropped from light heavyweight (205 pounds) to middleweight (185) in 2011, and came after the 31-year-old former Camden-Rockport High School wrestling star had scored victories earlier this year over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard to emerge as a top contender for the middleweight crown.
Boetsch’s record fell to 16-5 while New York-based Philippou — a replacement for Boetsch’s original scheduled opponent, the injured Chris Weidman, is now 12-2.
Boetsch got off to a quick start, scoring a pair of takedowns during the fight’s opening minutes and then getting a front-kick knockdown late in the first round.
But reports indicate Boetsch was dealing with an injured right hand, and things got worse when he was poked in his left eye as Philippou tried to deflect a punch during second-round action.
Perhaps in a last-ditch effort, Boetsch shot in a bid for a takedown early in the third round, but it was Philippou who ended up on top and landed a barrage of strikes that resulted in referee Kim Winslow stopping the fight at 2 minutes, 11 seconds of the round.
In the UFC 155 main event, Cain Velasquez regained the promotion’s heavyweight championship with a five-round unanimous decision of Junior Dos Santos.