Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch’s mixed martial arts career has featured its share of notable achievements.

There was the come-from-behind victory over Yushin Okami in Tokyo that elevated the Lincolnville native to a top-five ranking in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division.

Then there was his homecoming fight last August at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, a dramatic second-round knockout of Brad Tavares.

Now looms another highlight — Boetsch’s first UFC main event.

Boetsch’s fight with Dan Henderson scheduled for June 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been elevated to the main event of that UFC Fight Night 68 card at the Smoothie King Center.

That promotion came after the original main event between light heavyweight contenders Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader was scrapped so Cormier could fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the vacant light heavyweight crown at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” said Boetsch of his main event, to be televised on Fox Sports 1. “This is the fight for it. Dan Henderson is a legend and one of my favorite fighters, so to be able to fight him in my first main event is quite an honor and certainly a huge opportunity for me.”

Boetsch was a little surprised the UFC didn’t find an opponent for Bader in time for the June 6 card, but these are busy times for that organization with eight shows scheduled between May 9 and June 27 and four more cards between July 11 and July 25.

“Usually they’re able to find replacements for guys and I thought they’d certainly find a replacement and Bader would still be fighting in the main event,” said Boetsch. “But the way it turned out is fine by me. It’s quite an honor to have the UFC put me in this main-event position. They know what my plans are and have high expectations for me, and that’s exactly what I want.”

The shift of the Boetsch-Henderson bout to main-event status likely was based on several factors, among them the 44-year-old Henderson’s elder-statesman prominence within the mixed martial arts world, Boetsch’s recent performances that have earned him $50,000 bonuses from UFC president Dana White after each of his last two bouts, and the expectation of an action-packed battle.

“When fight people were looking at that card, the first fight people were focusing on was the Tim Boetsch-Dan Henderson fight,” said Marcus Davis, Boetsch’s trainer since last summer. “Why? Because everybody thinks that fight’s not going to go the distance, and it’s a fight where both guys are going to go out there and let everything hang out.”

As the main event the Boetsch-Henderson fight now becomes set for five rounds instead of its originally scheduled three-round duration.

Boetsch said he doesn’t expect that fact to require much of a change in his training regimen.

“You just have to be prepared mentally and physically to fight for 25 minutes,” he said. “I’ve never had to do it before so I’m training hard and I’m going into this fight thinking that it is going to go the full 25 minutes just so I’m prepared.

“I don’t want to go in there and have any surprises. I don’t want to go in there and get tired at any point, so I’m going to do everything in my power so I can perform to the level that Marcus and I expect for the full 25 minutes.”

Boetsch will enter the bout ranked 13th among UFC middleweights with an 18-8 professional record, including 9-7 in UFC fights.

The former four-time state wrestling champion from Camden-Rockport High School in Rockport has split his first two fights since joining forces with Davis at Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy in Brewer. He defeated Tavares, then lost via second-round submission to Thales Leites in a Jan. 31 bout on the main card of UFC 183 in Las Vega s.

Henderson, 30-13 overall and 7-7 in the UFC, is a former Olympic wrestler and highly decorated MMA competitor in multiple weight classes as the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and the former Pride Fighting Championships middleweight and welterweight title holder.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...