In the upcoming middleweight matchup set for UFC 162 “Silva vs. Weidman” between Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz and Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch, we can expect to see some heavy hits and devastating ground and pound. With both of these fighters being former NCAA Division I wrestlers, this bout promises to have “a lot of action and strategy going on in the Octagon,” says Munoz, and it would be best that we “don’t blink.” Munoz is known for his incredible grappling ability that makes it look almost effortless, and for relentless ground punches. Boetsch is more of a bully-style fighter, pushing forward like a bulldozer and keeping his opponents on the defensive while standing.
In the Filipino Wrecking Machine’s last 13 fights, he has landed 321 out of 651 attempted strikes, meaning that he connects with his opponent about half of the time he attacks. He also has succeeded with 15 out of 65 takedown attempts, which showcases his tenacity and tells us that he likes to put his opponents on the ground. While 31% of his strikes are thrown from a standing position, and 26% from the clinch, he boasts the unusual statistic of 44% of his strikes being thrown while involved in groundwork, which demonstrates his love for that ground-and-pound style of MMA that makes fans jump out of their seats (or cringe if they’re squeamish). Munoz has passed his opponents’ guards 13 times and has four significant sweeps of note, which shows that he knows how to position himself on the ground. This is definitely a direct result of his serious wrestling background, as he was a NCAA All American and Division I champion. He also has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and combined with his wrestling that makes him incredibly dangerous to engage with. His fighting style resembles that of a typical boxer/wrestler: great clinch-work and underhooks standing up, and preferring to eventually take his opponent down, knock them down with strikes, and then finish them with ground punches. Munoz also fought in the WEC and as of March was ranked the #7 middleweight in the world by Sherdog. He has beaten notable fighters such as Chris Leben, Kendall Grove, Demian Maia, and CB Dollaway, while suffering one of his few defeats at the hands of Yushin Okami (who was beaten by none other than Tim Boetsch).
Boetsch also boasts NCAA Division I wrestling experience, but was never champion like his opponent. He does however have a black belt in Jeet Kune Do, and is more comfortable standing up and throwing blows. In the Barbarian’s last 12 fights, he has landed 51% of his punches and succeeded with 17 out of 47 takedowns, leaving him with a 36% success rate. While most of Munoz’s attacks are involved in ground game, Boetsch has thrown 59% of his strikes while standing up. He was a four-time state wrestling champ in high school, the Reality Fighting light-heavyweight champ, Extreme Challenge light-heavyweight champ, and Extreme Challenge USKBA heavyweight champion. He has had his share of tough opponents, triumphing over men like Hector Lombard and Kendall Grove.
This fight is going to be extremely exciting to watch. Both of these men are coming off a loss, Boetsch to Costa Phillippou, and Munoz to Chris Weidman, who is going to be fighting Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. Boetsch will most likely engage with his favored push-kick and then look to do damage with heavy hands while mixing in some knees. With a solid frame and strong chin, Munoz is not going to want to stand up with him, and will probably look to put him on the ground. Generally speaking, big men like Boetsch don’t do well off their back, and if Munoz can manage to bring this to the ground without sustaining damage from the Barbarian’s heavy hands, the odds are significantly in his favor.