---- — By Todd Stanford
For The Daily Item
LAS VEGAS -- Fighting a determined Mark Munoz at UFC 162 Saturday night, Northumberland's Tim Boetsch held his own for the first round before falling to a barrage of "ground-and-pound" in rounds two and three.
Munoz, the eighth-ranked middleweight in the UFC, beat No. 10 Boetsch by unanimous decision. The final scores were 30-26, 30-27 and 29-28.
It was Boetsch's second straight loss inside the octagon. He's now 16-6 for his career and 7-5 in the UFC.
"I'm not sure what I was thinking out there," Boetsch said to yahoosports.com. "I was just a little bit off. My timing just wasn't there."
Munoz (13-3), a top-flight middleweight who hadn't fought since a loss to Chris Weidman last July, showed that he's ready for another trip toward the top of the rankings. Munoz admitted that he went through a bout of depression after losing to Weidman, even ballooning up to 261 pounds. But he made it back to the 185-pound weight limit for Saturday's fight and then showed what a resolute man he's become.
Boetsch started the fight strong, as he hit Munoz with a push kick to the chest in the opening seconds and then quickly took the "Filipino Wrecking Machine" down. Munoz got back to his feet, but with his arms still around Munoz, Boetsch picked him up and threw him to the mat.
Munoz eventually got back to his feet and took Boetsch down. "The Barbarian" countered with a guillotine choke, but Munoz got out of it.
The round ended with both men on their feet. One judge almost certainly gave the first round to Boetsch, as the 29-28 score would indicate.
In the second, Munoz took Boetsch down again and landed some solid body shots. The round ended with Munoz landing some powerful knees to the chest.
The third round was more of the same, as Munoz continued his "ground-and-pound" attack. Boetsch never quit, however, as he went for more submission attempts, including a kneebar. But Munoz scrambled out of trouble each time.
For the night, Munoz landed 160 total strikes, including an amazing 116 ground strikes. He also took Boetsch down four times.
"This was the real Mark Munoz tonight," Munoz said at the post-fight press conference. "I felt amazing."
In the main event of the evening, the aforementioned Weidman grabbed the middleweight belt when he stunned many in the MMA world with a second-round TKO of Anderson "The Spider" Silva. Silva, the talented Brazilian Muay Thai specialist, had held the belt for nearly seven years.
Weidman, a former All-American wrestler at Hofstra, is now 10-0.