By Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
In his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, Tim Boetsch stepped up on short notice to take on David Heath at UFC 81, and immediately made a name for himself on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage with a first round TKO victory.
David Heath was originally slated to face Tomasz Drwal at UFC 81, but 13 days before the event Drwal was forced to pull out due to a knee injury suffered in training. The fight was nearly scratched from the card but Tim Boetsch accepted the bout with only ten days to prepare.
“My manager called me and asked if I felt like I was ready to jump in the UFC because, he said, David Heath’s opponent had been hurt. He was going to talk to them and try to get me in there. He called me back and said the fight had been scratched. I was all bummed out. The next day he called me and said the fight was back on and that I was in. It all worked out pretty good for me,” said the Pennsylvanian fighter.
The up-and-coming light heavyweight realized opportunity rarely knocks and he wanted to be ready to rise to the challenge when or if opportunity knocked upon his door. That attitude paid off.
He said, “I pretty much train hard all the time and when I do find out I have a fight I’ll kick it up another notch. Me and my group of guys train hard pretty much year-round because you do get opportunities for fights on short notice and I like to be as ready as possible when they do call.”
“I’m ready to fight all the time. If we can line them up, I want to be in there throwing down.”
A lot of fighters display a case of nerves when they make their debut in the UFC, getting caught up in the hype, bright lights and big stage that fighting in the UFC brings.
Asked about the his nerves stepping into the octagon for the first time, Boetsch said, “Everyone was talking about the first-time jitters being a factor. That was the only thing that I was concerned about going into this fight. I knew I had prepared technically as well as I could have for Heath, and the only thing I had to deal with was those nerves, so that was my main focus all week.”
“I was just kind of removing myself from all the big lights and the hype of Las Vegas and the first time in the octagon. I went in there highly focused and nerves didn’t play a factor at all for me.”
The highlight of the bout was Boetsch’s throw that put David Heath on his head and resulted in the eventual finish of the fight.
Discussing the throw, Boetsch explained, “It was more-or-less wrestling and pummeled an under hook in there and had kind of like a collar tie, which is also a wrestling technique, locked up on his head there and I threw him. It wasn’t really a Judo hip toss. I didn’t really get my hips into it. It was more of just an upper body almost like football spiking action.”
“I was a bit surprised when he went down that hard and didn’t catch himself. When I did see his head bounce off the mat I knew he was in a lot of trouble. When I jumped on him and started hitting him I felt he was out right away. At that point I was just waiting for referee Herb Dean to jump in there and stop the fight.”
With such an impressive debut, Boetsch feels he’ll be brought back to the UFC, but nothing has been signed. He stated, “I didn’t sign anything, so it was a one fight and we’ll see kind of deal. I think I left them with a good enough impression that I’ll be back in there, but nothing is official just yet,”
“They made it clear that they were impressed. They were happy that I took the fight on late notice and that I showed up in shape and put on a good show. They said that was one of the reasons why they won’t bring a guy in on late notice because they can’t count on them putting on a good show. They were very pleased with everything that I did and the fan response has been great as well.”
He added, “Looking back on it, that was the perfect fight. It just worked out well all the way around.”