It's not easy to lead off a pay-per-view, but that's what these guys will have to do. On one side, you have the wily veteran who has resurrected his career after a long layoff. On the other side, you have a raw prospect looking to gain some recognition in the biggest fight of his career. TUF 3's Ed Herman(19-7, 6-5 UFC) meets undefeated Clifford Starks (8-0, 1-0 UFC).
Neither fighter is currently ranked at middleweight in the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings,and not much is going to change after this bout. Herman could earn some consideration with a couple more wins though. This middleweight UFC 143 fight will be the first fight of the main card, and will be aired live on pay-per-view. The PPV broadcast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
How do these two stack up?
Herman: 31 years old | 6'2" | 75" reach Starks: 30 years old | 5'10" | 75.5" reach
Ed "Short Fuse" Herman rose to prominence as a cast member of the Ultimate Fighter 3, where he made it all the way to the finals before losing to Kendall Grove. His early UFC career was marked by inconsistency, and he was just 4-4 going into a bout with Aaron Simpson at UFC 102. He hurt his knee in that bout, and it cost him almost two years of his career. While he was out, he left Team Quest to form his own camp, and finally returned at the TUF 13 Finale last June where he blew though Tim Credeur and knocked him out in just 48 seconds. Another quick win (this time a nasty submission) over Kyle Noke at UFC on Versus 5 has fully revitalized Herman's career, and he hopes to stay in beast mode against Starks.
Clifford Starks was an NCAA division 1 wrestler at Arizona State University and was a teammate of UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. He fights out of Arizona Combat Sports. He made his pro debut in late 2009 and mostly fought for the Rage in the Cage promotion before getting a shot in the main event of Shark Fights 20. He picked up a decision in an uneventful fight, mostly due to his opponent refusing to engage. Either way, that win earned Starks a UFC bout on just two weeks notice, where he defeated Dustin Jacoby by unanimous decision at UFC 137. Wrestling is his biggest strength in the cage and he'll look to ground Herman as soon as possible.
Why should you care?
Herman has been a tank since he came back on the scene, and you rarely get a boring fight out of him anyway. Starks is a little more cautious than Herman, but it should be a solid matchup.
You can catch more UFC 143 preview content from Bloody Elbow after the jump.
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