Kyle Noke has quickly gotten off to a 3-0 start in the UFC. As a fighter who lost in the second round of season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter, it’s a surprising development for Noke, but now, in the relatively weak UFC middleweight division, Noke could very well be on the cusp of being a title contender. To get there, he’s going to have to beat Ed Herman at UFC on Versus 5.
Herman offers something that Noke hasn’t yet had to face in the UFC: a fighter with particularly good skill in an area of fighting. Noke’s winning streak has taken place against Josh Bryant, Rob Kimmons, and Chris Camozzi. While none of those fighters are particularly bad, none of them have any special talent going for them either. In Herman, Noke is going to have to face an opponent who is a very solid wrestler with submission skills also, as Herman has 13 wins by submission. Keep in mind, however, that most of those wins took place before Herman started competing in the UFC.
Also keep in mind that Herman’s biggest weakness is Noke’s biggest strength. While Herman has 13 submission wins, he also has 5 submission losses. And Kyle Noke is a fighter who’s good on the ground; he was seriously impressive at UFC 127 when he beat Chris Camozzi in just 1:35. In that fight, Noke got Camozzi to the ground quickly, took his back quickly, and cinched up a rear naked choke quickly. It’s one thing to win by KO in 1:35, which requires only one event to take place (the knockout blow). It’s another thing to win by rear naked choke in 1:35, as that’s a submission which generally requires three events to take place (the takedown, the guard pass to back mount, and the submission).
Now, I mentioned Noke’s recent fight history already. While it might not be the most impressive fight history ever, I would argue that it’s better than the recent fight history of Ed Herman. Now, if “recent” is taken literally, Herman’s only fight is his June win against Tim Credeur; prior to that, Herman was out for nearly two years with knee injuries. If you instead look at Herman’s UFC record (for example), his most impressive win is probably Joe Doerksen, followed by David Loiseau. As respected as Doerksen and Loiseau may be, these are not high-level opponents that Herman has been beating.
SILVA PREDICTION: KYLE NOKE (30.25) OVER ED HERMAN (26.73)
Herman certainly has a good chance in this fight if he can consistently land takedowns on Noke. Like it or not, it’s extremely difficult to win fights in the UFC from bottom position, and it’s unlikely that Noke would prove to be any exception. For this reason, Herman represents Noke’s biggest challenge in the UFC thus far. However, I think that Noke has what it takes to win this fight. If Noke can take Herman down, he should have the superior ground game, and his recent fight history trumps Herman’s as well.