Tanner Boser, right, strikes Daniel Spitz during his victory in October at UFC on ESPN 6. Image credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports.
Bonnyville’s finest mixed martial artist Tanner “The Bulldozer” Boser returns to the octagon hoping for a victory on June 27.
The UFC heavyweight was set for his third bout on March 28 against Jeff Hughes, but the entire fight card was cancelled due to the COVID-19.
However, the UFC found a way to return to competition with no fans in early May and the former Unified MMA champion in Boser (17-6-1) will face former PFL champ Brazilian Philipe Lins (14-4) for UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
Boser has stayed in Alberta during the pandemic and tried to navigate the challenge as best as possible.
“It changed the way everybody had to train. Gyms were closed. Social distancing was in effect and everybody was just doing the best they could,” said Boser.
“Training’s back mostly to normal now with some different parameters, but for the brunt of it, it was just staying in shape as best I could. But now that gyms are back open, it’s full speed ahead for the next, well, only a couple weeks.”
Boser beat Daniel Spitz in his UFC debut in October 2019, but lost in three rounds to Ciryl Gane in December.
He’ll enter the fight with a larger walking around weight and a four-inch reach advantage against Lins, who is coming off a loss in his UFC debut in May against former heavyweight champ and legend Andrei Arlovski.
Boser said he isn’t sure he’ll take too much away from the Gane fight, but knows he gets better after every fight when he’s back in the gym.
“Lins considers himself a striker and he does have pretty technical and good striking. He hits hard, he throws hard flurries. But he has a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. He’s quite competent on the ground as well. He tends to stand though,” he said.
“I think that stylistically we match up well. It should be an exciting fight. It’ll be a faster pace and more technique than is in most heavyweight fights. For instance, the oddsmakers have us dead even right now. It’s kind of a coin flip on paper. I think I have a certain idea of what I’m going to do that hopefully can get me the win.”
When starting out professionally, Boser learned Jiu-Jitsu from Jacob Sansom who was recently killed in March.
He said he’s dedicating his performance to him for being an influential figure in his career.
“He taught Jiu-Jitsu to me and to my brother and some of my friends when we were younger. After my first pro fight, which would have been in the very start of 2013, he came into High Energy Fitness Studio where we were training and somebody brought him in, we were doing boxing that day. And then he asked me wanted to learn some jujitsu and we were excited,” said Boser.
“He was definitely very influential in a positive way for me in my young adult life and for I think a lot of people, a lot of kids in Bonnyville.”
Boser vs Lins will is a preliminary fight during the UFC Fight Night card of Dustin Poirier against Dan Hooker, the second fight on the card.
“I prepare as hard as I can every time– no matter what. This is no different. Yeah, coming off a loss, it’s cutthroat. I’m coming off of one loss. One loss. And it’s almost like your backs against the wall. It’s kind of messed up. If I lose, I still have one more fight on my contract so I can probably save myself. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.
“I think I’m going to beat Philipe Lins. It’s not going to be an easy fight. I’m gonna leave that octagon dead. But I think I’m gonna beat him. I think that even if I were on the outside looking in, I think I would bet on myself.”