December 29th’s UFC 155 offering in Las Vegas lost one of it’s premier matches today as 185 lb standout Chris Weidman has been forced to pull out of his match with Tim Boetsch due to a tear in his shoulder. Instead, Boetsch will face Weidman’s team mate at the Serra Longo Academy, Costa Philippou. Whereas Weidman was an almost 4 to 1 favorite at the books (he was at -360 with the comeback on Boetsch at +290), Boetsch is likely to enjoy being favored in the bout with Philippou when the lines are remade at the books.
For Weidman, who had been talked about in some circles as a potential next challenger to champion Anderson Silva, this is a big blow. He will have to sit out a fight that arguably would have been his toughest, and he could have cemented his status as a contender at 185 lbs.
Boetsch, for his part, is 4-0 since the drop to 185 lbs, and he has quality wins over Yushin Okami and Hector Lombard. That level of competition alone, not to mention his time at 205 lbs, should give Boetsch the edge. Philippou is 5-1 in the UFC, and he does not have the level of competition. Philippou has also gone the distance against Riki Fukuda, Court Magee and Jorge Rivera, and let’s face it he has not impressed like Weidman.
Boetsch has shown himself to be a solid wrestler, and against Okami he fought back from behind, all qualities that will serve him well with Philippou. Philippou’s big chance is on the feet, and should he hurt Boetsch, he is going to have to finish him. Despite clearly having solid JJ coaching, Philippou is more of a stand up fighter, and Boetsch will likely employ his size and wrestling to work from the top and ground and pound.
Boetsch also needs to avoid a let down, as the Weidman fight was considered a big fight, whereas with Philippou still flying under the radar, he will face more pressure to win.