Tim Boetsch: Strength Will Be a Factor Against Yushin Okami


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Tim Boetsch didn’t hesitate to accept the UFC’s offer to match him against Yushin Okami at UFC 144.

After accepting, though, Boetsch started to realize the magnitude of the challenge: He has to travel across the planet to Japan to fight the No. 3-ranked middleweight in the world on his own turf.

“I made the decision fairly quickly, and then I started to think about it,” Boetsch told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “I was like, ‘This is kind of stacked against me here.’ But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘You know what? You don’t get an opportunity like this every day.’ Actually it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was very happy to take the fight. It’s a great matchup for me.”

Boetsch is 2-0 in the UFC since dropping to 185 pounds. One benefit of the move is the strength advantage he enjoys against other middleweights, but he doesn’t expect to have quite the same
edge against Okami.

“Word on the street is that Yushin’s very strong,” Boetsch said. “Obviously he’s one of the bigger guys at middleweight. I don’t expect to be able to do all the same techniques that I did in my previous fights at middleweight, but I certainly know that strength will be a factor. I know that I’m going to be able to execute some sort of throw or some technique along those lines. That’s definitely part of the game plan, to get a big takedown and score those points and get that dominant position on him.”

In particular, Boetsch has been preparing for the clinch. He thinks Okami will try to use the position to slow down the fight and also score points.

“That’s a place I’m very comfortable with,” Boetsch said. “We’ve been doing a lot of work this camp from the clinch, aggressively attacking from there and working takedowns and just punishing the guy in the clinch. I don’t want my opponents to think the clinch is a place where they can take a break or rest. If he wants to clinch it up, that’s fine. I’m going to do a lot of damage there.”

Okami has a knack for shutting down his opponent’s offense. If that makes for a slow fight, the Japanese fighter doesn’t seem to mind. Boetsch, however, said he hates lackluster bouts.

“I really do not want to play into that game at all,” he said. “I want to keep the pace fast and I want to accumulate a lot of damage on him as early in the fight as I can. I definitely want … to try to break that on him and then really just discourage him in this fight, which is going to be hard to do. It’s going to be in Japan. He’s going to be bringing his ‘A’ game. I expect to see the best Okami we’ve seen in a long time in my fight. It’s going to be a battle, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 57:40).

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