Ed Herman continued his streak of excellent performances with a second-round rear naked choke victory over Clifford Starks in the first main card bout at UFC 143. Starks looked very good in the first, landing big right hands many times and arguably winning the round, but Herman tripped Starks to the mat in the second and took full advantage, quickly advancing position and slapping on a fight-ending choke. The official time of the finish was 1:52 on the second.
Both fighters came out throwing and connecting early. Starks controlled Herman against the cage for a while, but was unable to land anything appreciable. Starks landed right hands a few times in a row, and pushed Herman against the cage again. Somehow, Herman started bleeding from the ear. Herman finally got off the cage and landed a few shots, but Starks responded with another solid right that caused Herman to look for a takedown. After some work, he was successful and moved to half guard. Starks reversed though, and landed a few punches to close out the round. Herman looked for an armbar, but it was too late.
Starks and Herman started the second round a little more cautiously, and eventually it returned to Starks holding Herman against the cage. Herman pulled off a really nice trip takedown though, and jumped into mount immediately. Starks quickly flipped over and Herman locked on a rear naked choke. Starks tried to fight it off but was unsuccessful, and had to tap.
Herman entered the cage on a two-fight winning streak, both quick finishes. He was out for almost two years with a major knee injury. Starks won his only UFC bout before this, picking up a unanimous decision over Dustin Jacoby at UFC 137.