In the second round of the heavyweight bout at the UFC Apex, Saint Preux (25-16 MMA, 13-11 UFC) secured a key takedown that halted a one-sided beatdown on the feet through the first five minutes. Boser (20-8-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) scooted toward the fence, then put his arm against the cage and got leverage to work his way into a standup. Seconds later, he teed off for the knockout finish.
There was immediate analysis from the commentary team on the broadcast, as well as from spectators on social media, about whether Boser broke the rules to get a fight-alternating standup or if he used a closed fist to push off the cage, which would not be deemed an illegal action.
Boser was asked about the controversy post-fight, and he repeatedly said he doesn’t recall any wrongdoing from his part.
“I heard his corner yelling about it, but I don’t remember doing it – I don’t think there was,” Boser told MMA Junkie post-fight at UFC Fight Night 190. “Their job is to be in the best interest of their fighter. If they believe that I grabbed the fence, they have every right to be angry. I don’t believe I grabbed the fence. I didn’t see on the replay that I grabbed the fence, and I’m confident I didn’t grab the fence. But if they believe that’s what happened, they have the right to be upset because that’s their guy. It’s up to the coaches to be on their guy’s side.”
Regardless of outside perspectives, Boser left the octagon with his hand raised in what was nothing short of an essential fight for his career.
After suffering back-to-back losses, Boser made a 21-day turnaround from his bout with Ilir Latifi on June 5 and took the fight with Saint Preux on short notice, and with essentially no training camp. It was a risky move by the Canadian, but Boser said he’s happy his decision paid off with a win.
“The last two fights were so razor thin, I knew I had to go in and kind of leave it out there,” Boser said. “No one is going in there looking for the judges, but I knew I kind of had to leave it out there and look for the stoppage because apparently I’m not going to get a win if it goes to those guys.
“Three losses in a row can be it, and if it’s not, the next fight is absolutely do or die. So I treated this one as if it was do or die. I had nothing against my opponent. I don’t (have anything against my opponent) pretty much ever, but I needed a win and it was dire.”