Procrastination is a bad thing, and it stuck me in the situation of having to produce previews for all five main card fights at UFC 143 tonight. The good news is that I’m up to the challenge, so here we go.
I need to say, even with the injuries that have taken place on the UFC 143 card, I’m surprised to see Clifford Starks on one of the pay-per-view fights. Starks is 1-0 in the UFC, having beaten Dustin Jacoby in his UFC debut, but that fight wasn’t particularly exciting, and Starks is still quite new to professional MMA, having only fought for two years. Starks is the kind of fighter the UFC normally would keep in the preliminaries, against opponents who aren’t established UFC veterans. In facing Ed Herman on the pay-per-view portion of the fight card, Starks is being forced into the position of having to step up his game.
Now, Herman is a fighter who definitely deserves to be on the pay-per-view. After missing the better part of two years due to injuries, Herman came back to the UFC on fire, taking out both Tim Credeur and Kyle Noke in the first round. Particularly impressive was Herman’s win over Noke. Noke is a well-rounded fighter who has a pretty good ground game, but Herman was able to out-grapple Noke and win by inverted heel hook.
One interesting contrast in this fight is the aggressiveness of Herman and the defensive style of Starks. In 27 career fights, Herman has gone to decision just four times; he has five wins by TKO and 12 by submission. Starks, on the other hand, has gone to decision in half of his eight fights, even though his level of competition hasn’t been as high as Herman’s.
To win this fight, Starks is almost certainly going to have to out-wrestle Herman, which is no easy task, as Herman has a pretty good wrestling background, having trained out of Team Quest in Oregon. If Herman focuses on takedown defense, he may be able to prevent Starks from taking him down, and in a striking match, I’ll take Herman, hands down. But if Starks is successful in taking Herman down, I’m still not convinced that Starks would win the fight, as Herman has shown a fairly advanced ground game, and could threaten to sweep or submit Starks.
SILVA PREDICTION: ED HERMAN (50.24) OVER CLIFFORD STARKS (45.10)
SILVA actually thinks this is a pretty competitive fight, but for me, it comes down to skill sets. Perhaps Clifford Starks will show a more diversified, complete MMA game in this fight, but if he doesn’t, I see the more skilled Ed Herman winning.