After a 329-day layoff, Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch stepped back into the octagon on Saturday, March 9 at UFC Fight Night 146 against Omari “Wolverine” Akhmedov.

And while the 38-year-old Boetsch held his own at times against the younger Akhmedov — who has not lost a professional fight since 2016 — the Lincolnville native also displayed the same heart, grit and determination he has displayed throughout his UFC career.

Those attributes, while useful, were not enough against Akhmedov, who defeated Boetsch by split decision after three five-minute rounds Saturday night in the first match of the main card at Intrust Bank Arena.

Akhmedov won over all three judges by identical 30-27 scores.

Boetsch (21-13) outstruck Akhmedov (18-4-1), landing 128 of 242 strikes (53 percent), while Akhmedov connected with 116 of 282 (41 percent).

In significant strikes, Boetsch also had a slight advantage, connecting with 82-of-194 (42 percent), while Akhmedov landed 104 of 270 (39 percent).

However, the big blow was landed by Akhmedov in the second round when a straight right broke the nose of the former four-time Camden-Rockport High School state wrestling champion.

Despite that fact, Boetsch continued to battle.

Akhmedov also opened up Boetsch in the third round when a two-punch combination cut the side of his right eye.

Retirement rumors circulated prior to Saturday’s bout that Boetsch’s fight with Akhmedov could be his last.

In an interview with leading into Saturday’s fight, Boetsch said as much. He now owns an ice shaving business in Sunbury, Pa., which proved to be quite lucrative in its initial run last year.

“I’m definitely thinking about the end game and have been for a while,” Boetsch said. “I’ve been blessed that – knock on something wood – I’ve never been hurt real bad in a fight and I’m walking away, potentially going to walk away, in pretty good health for a fighter who has been doing it this long. This is my 24th UFC fight so I’ve been in here a bunch of times and put it on the line a bunch of times. That’s definitely something I’m thinking about: When is the right time to step away?”

Saturday also was the first time in the last 10 bouts that Boetsch’s fight went to the scorecards. He was 4-6 in those fights after winning a split decision over C.B. Dollaway at UFC 166 on Oct. 19, 2013.

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