Tanner “The Bulldozer” Boser is a 31-year-old Canadian heavyweight with a mullet and a missing tooth who fights out of an MMA gym named “Shaved Bears.” Despite his 4-3 record with three knockout wins and all three losses coming via decision, Boser is an entertaining fighter with an interesting persona.
One year younger and 1-1-1 in the UFC with a submission as his sole win, Rogerio “Yogi Bear” Nascimento is unproven as an MMA fighter. He’s only had nine professional fights, going 8-1 overall, and earned a contract from Contender Series in 2019 with a 1st round submission. Six of his eight professional wins have come by submission, and his only loss was a knockout loss in 2020.
Boser vs. Nascimento is one of the main card fights on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 210 card. Subscribe to ESPN+ to watch every UFC fight live.
For the fourth time in his career, Boser opened around a -200 favorite. In his previous three fights at these odds, Boser is 1-2.
Boser is a smaller heavyweight, often weighing in 20-25 pounds under the heavyweight limit. His typical weight pairs well with his movement and cardio-centric fight style. On the feet, Boser stands upright and keeps a narrow stance as he bounces back and forth in the cage. He’s nimble on his feet, especially for a heavyweight, and is adept at bouncing in and out of range for the full 15 minutes of a fight.
At range, Boser snaps out a solid leg kick designed to test his distance and slow his opponent down. As with many fighters who utilize footwork as a tool, creating a stationary target (something a good leg kick can accomplish) only amplifies the footwork of the striker and aids in creating more angles for attack. Boser tends to strike in volume combinations following a probing jab or leg kick. When he lets his hands go, unlike many heavyweights, Boser does not pack one-punch power, but he can find finishes on the back of an accumulation of damage.
Defensively, Boser’s footwork makes him more of a challenge to hit clean, but in instances where he is clipped, he has shown an impressive chin and ability to recover without getting dropped. The issue in Boser’s game is that he rarely lands the most impactful blow during an exchange. His stick’n move style is often overshadowed by the more powerful and imposing strikers he faces in the division. Damage is the primary judging criterion in MMA, even more relevant in the heavyweight division, and Boser simply doesn’t pack the same punch as many of his opponents.
Nascimento can be boiled down and categorized as a basic heavyweight with a submission game. On the feet, Nascimento is big, slow, and plodding. He tends to strike with decent volume, but the striking is basic at best. His attacks are designed more as a distractive measure than an actual way of impacting the fight. He wants to occupy his opponent’s hands, raise their eyesight, and close distance so he can look for a takedown or a clinch. Once he gets ahold of his opponent, Nascimento looks to grind his opponent down to the mat, often using his natural size and strength as opposed to wrestling technique to complete the takedown attempt.
Standing at 6’4 and 260+ pounds by the time of the fight, he often has the size to finish a takedown without the need for proper form. When the fight hits the mat, Nascimento lays incredibly heavy on his opponent, driving his chest down and his head into his opponent’s head. Nascimento’s grinding grappling is enough to win him significant moments of ground control time, but he has proven that he wants the finish, not just a grind’em out win. Nascimento has finished all eight of his professional fights with good ground offense, combining ground and pound with his submissions. The only obstacle Nascimento has faced, and the reason for his 45-second knockout loss, is he is slow on the feet and can be hittable when looking to close distance. He will need improved striking defense or a stone jaw if he wants to continue his walk-through-fire approach to getting a takedown.
This fight is a classic striker vs. grappler matchup. While the fight is on the feet, Boser will have the edge in speed, accuracy, footwork, and be able to land at will. But, if Nascimento can get in tight enough, he should be able to get Boser to the mat. From here, Nascimento should dominate.
I think the best way to bet this fight is Boser by Dec and Nascimento inside the distance. Playing both sides reduces profit but provides more security. As a straight pick, I side with the early line movement. Boser opened as a -210 and is down to a -170 in some spots. I think this fight is closer to 50/50 than the odds suggest, so I’m taking Nascimento to get a takedown and the upset.
Pick: Rogerio Nascimento to win (+150 odds at BetUS)
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.