Amidst the hustle and bustle of the UFC 159 buildup, two fight announcements got left out in the cold. UFC officials announced Friday that Ed Herman would be facing Trevor Smith at UFC on Fox 8. Also announced, Norman Parke and Kazuki Tokudome for UFC 162.
Herman returns after a one-off fight under the Strikeforce banner where he lost to Ronaldo Souza by first round kimura. His last fight in the UFC saw him drop a unanimous decision to Jake Shields, which was later overturned after Shields failed his post fight drug test.
Trevor Smith has been a staple on the Strikeforce Challengers series, but was most recently seen on the undercard of Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, losing by third round submission to Tim Kennedy. Smith is the latest of the Strikeforce transfers, and to be honest it's a bit surprising that he made the jump. He brings with him a 10–3 record with losses to Gian Villante and Devin Cole.
This has all the makings of a win or get cut fight for both men. Herman has had a long tenure with the company, but he's had back to back poor performances, and while I'm sure the UFC feels grateful to him for stepping up and taking the fight with "Jacare," I doubt that generosity would last through a third loss.
Ultimate Fighter winner Norman Parke (17–2) will make his return to the octagon for the first time since his victory on the TUF Smashes finale (UFC on FX 6: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson) over Colin Fletcher. Unfortunately for Parke, much of the wind has been taken out of his TUF sails, as Fletcher has already been released from the promotion following his second loss.
Kazuki Tokudome was a somewhat surprising acquisition by the UFC from Pancrase. He's 12–3–1 which means he's avoided much of the draw heavy decisions endemic to Japanese MMA. His only recent loss is to young Pancrase champion Isao Kobayashi. He won a well earned unanimous decision over Cristiano Marcello at UFC on Fuel TV 8: Silva vs. Stann, and looks to have some promise if he can work on his striking defense.
All told this is probably a better build-up fight for Parke than it is for Tokudome, but its a good opportunity for both fighters to start separating themselves from the bottom end of the Lightweight division.