Tanner Boser’s UFC debut has finally arrived.
Edmonton’s Boser (16-5-1) will make his octagon debut Friday night when he meets Spokane’s Daniel Spitz (6-2) in a heavyweight contest at UFC Boston at TD Garden.
Boser was originally set to make his debut back in July in his hometown at UFC 240, but his opponent, Giacomo Lemos, was pulled from the bout due to a failed drug test.
Although this is his UFC debut, Boser holds a significant experience edge over Spitz, having competed in more than triple the amount of fights Spitz has.
And with several of those fights coming against former UFC and Bellator veterans, Boser said his overall experience could play a factor Friday night.
“I’ve definitely fought really good, really difficult guys throughout my career and I think the type of experience that will play a factor is I have a lot more cage time and have fought more tough guys,” said Boser in an interview.
“But he’s definitely fought good guys too. He fought Walt Harris, who’s an absolute beast, he fought Mark Godbeer, and he fought Anthony Hamilton and knocked him out, which is a big win. I definitely believe my experience will be a factor and play into my hands, but I expect Spitz to be a smart fighter as well.”
Spitz’s last time in the cage was his contest with Harris, who has emerged as a heavyweight contender, back in June 2018, a matchup he would go onto drop due to TKO stoppage.
Although the Harris fight did add a second loss to his record, Spitz said he learned a valuable lesson in just how serious he needs to take each fight in the UFC.
“I’d never been finished before or hurt in that way before in a fight, including snapping my arm in half in the first 30 seconds,” said Spitz in an interview.
“It just kind of put the sport in a different perspective in the sense that it’s more of a kill or be killed attitude when I go out there now. I’m not just going to out-technique or outwork the guy; I’m going in there to hurt him.”
So far in his career, Boser has shown the ability to win a fight in any fashion, holding eight stoppages due to striking, two via submissions, and six unanimous decisions. Although a smaller sample size, Spitz has also shown his finishing prowess with three submission victories and two TKO stoppages.
With both he and Spitz both displaying their striking and grappling skills throughout their careers, Boser said the fight could play out in many different ways, all of which he’s prepared for.
“Hopefully I knock him out and don’t take any damage. That’s the perfect world,” said Boser in an interview.
“But you train for the worst. I plan for it to be a gruelling fight that goes the distance and, if it does, hopefully I do enough to win. I think I can win it by decision, I think I can win it by knockout and if it goes to the ground, believe it or not, I do have a couple submissions that work pretty well for me.”
Boser is part of the ever-growing, highly-skilled team at Shaved Bears MMA, also home to the likes of Teddy Ash, KB Bhullar, Spencer Jebb and many more.
The Shaved Bears are coming off an impressive showing at Unified MMA 38 where Bhullar, Graham Park and Christian Larsen all left with championship belts, previously held by Boser and Ash.
Boser said it continues to be the top team to train with in Canada, working under the watchful eyes of Jeff Montemurro at Little Sweatshop and Keijiro Noda at Frank Lee’s.
“We have a really strong team. We have the best team in the country and a very strong team worldwide,” said Boser.
“Our top guys can compete with anybody. I loved seeing the belts stay with our team; that was wicked.”
Spitz Strong Everywhere
Training primarily out of Sikjitsu in Spokane, Spitz said he spent a large portion of this training camp at the UFC Performance Institute, improving his strength and conditioning.
Through the experience he’s gained throughout his career and the strides he’s made since his last fight, Spitz believes he’ll hold the edge over Boser wherever the fight ends up.
“I move quicker than him, the ground game will be night and day, and there’ll be a distinct speed and athleticism advantage,” said Spitz.
With the event taking place in Boston, the victors on fight night will join the long list of athletes from the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and Boston Red Sox who have achieved life-altering feats in a city with one of the richest histories in all of sports.
And while some fighters on the card may view it as just another arena to fight in, Spitz said this is an opportunity he’s looking forward to and one he’s going to savour.
“If people say it’s just another arena, they need to check their pulse. This is an iconic sports town,” said Spitz.
“To be in the same place where so many great athletes have competed is awesome. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“My coaches Jeff Montemurro and Keijiro Noda, all the Shaved Bears, and my sponsors (Paul Peddle Services, Premier Built Garages, MealKraft).”
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“I’d like to thank all my teammates (Jamelle Jones, Ike Okoli, Melvin Vassar, Theo Dukis), my jiu-jitsu coach James Weed, everyone over at Newborn Jiu-Jitsu, my head coach Rick Little, and everyone that’s put their time in with me.”