With his first co-main event going down in only a few hours, Tim Boetsch has got to be amped up for his battle with Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard.
Boetsch earned this high-profile bout after a come-from-behind victory over contender Yushin Okami back at UFC 144. The knockout came late in the third round after an aggressive Boetsch connected with a series of heavy uppercuts that left "Thunder" in a heap on the canvas.
However, its hard to ignore the fact that Boetsch was picked apart for the first two rounds in both the striking and grappling department. I'm not suggesting that The Barbarian is without a paddle, but there are some questions that we have about the Top 10 middleweight.
Can he take Lombard down?
Wrestling has been the bread and butter for Boetsch in the past, however, with the incredible balance and takedown defense of an acclaimed judo practitioner like Hector Lombard, Boetsch might find himself forced to stand up for the duration of this contest.
How good is Boetsch's standup prowess?
By no means does Yushin Okami have a poor striking game, but he is hardly known for his standup skills. However, the first round of his UFC 144 encounter with The Barbarian saw Okami pick apart his opponent to win the round.
The power behind Boetsch's punches is what pulled out the victory and he did a great job of pushing the pace and creating openings for the uppercuts that won him the contest. However, if someone like Okami can outpoint you in the standup, you've got a long way to go.
If Boetsch is unsuccessful in his takedown attempts and Lombard chooses to keep this fight standing, the Cuban judo champion could exploit this flaw.
Does he have anything to win in this fight?
The unfortunate truth about fighting Hector Lombard right now is that Lombard is a very dangerous fighter who has never competed in the UFC. If Lombard comes up short tonight, he will immediately be (incorrectly) deemed as someone who wasn't worthy of a contract in the first place by keyboard warriors who think that only UFC fighters can be considered elite.
Instead of giving Boetsch the credit he will deserve for beating an intimidating opponent who has world-class judo and a powerful standup attack.
Tonight's co-main event is an intriguing battle that could go either way in the event that Boetsch can land those heavy hands. Tune in to UFC 149 on pay-per-view to see the battle live.