by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
After weeks of waiting, talking, and constantly complaining about the fact that Team Ortiz passed on him during fighter selection, Ed “Short Fuse” Herman finally got his chance to fight on the latest installment of The Ultimate Fighter.
Herman’s opponent, Danny Abaddi, was the last pick on Team Ortiz and the second-to-last pick overall (in front of only Team Shamrock’s Tait Fletcher). Everyone knew that Abaddi would have to fight at his absolute best in order to have a chance to beat the heavily favored Herman.
The show began with highlights from last week’s match-up between Tait Fletcher and Josh Haynes. Both fighters went all-out and left everything in the Octagon, but Josh Haynes walked out with the judges’ decision victory in the end.
Team Ortiz had won five fights in a row over Team Shamrock going into this week’s episode, but the process of picking and choosing the preliminary match-ups is now over because each weight class only has two remaining fighters who have not yet fought.
Team Shamrock looked like a mess again, with Coach Ken taking the guys to the Hard Rock for a night of bowling (I guess this was the follow-up to the team’s successful golf outing), and while celebrating his team’s latest loss, Shamrock was greeted with a birthday cake from his wife and step-daughter. While they didn’t mention how old Shamrock was, the educated guess is that he’s about five years past his prime.
Back at the house, the fighters from Team Ortiz made dinner and started to think about the upcoming semi-finals. Matt Hamill again found new ways to annoy his teammates by shouting randomly throughout the house with Ric Flair-like “Whooo” screams. Michael Bisping told Matt that he didn’t like him at all when Matt’s back was turned and Michael knew that Matt couldn’t hear the comments.
The UFC did smarten up this season by doing away with the team challenges, some of which last year included male mud wrestling and “find the hidden sock” or something like that, but Ed Herman and Kendall Grove decided to re-live the good old days of the challenges with some bubble bath grappling. If you didn’t see the episode, you’ll just have to let your imagination run wild with that one.
At the fight announcement, Ed Herman and some of his teammates decided to poke fun at Tito Ortiz and his skinny legs. For once, Tito didn’t have very much to say in response to the comments. When the fighters were headed back to the house, Herman said more to Tito, going as far as suggesting that they should fight sometime.
In the van on the way back, Herman had one of the best quotes in the history of The Ultimate Fighter, second only to Matt Hughes verbally riding Mike Whitehead during Whitehead’s fight with Rashad Evans. Herman said, “Give me a year and I’d be ready for Tito.” Only a year to prepare, Ed? Maybe Ed realized that he’s 185 pounds and Tito is one of the best fighters in UFC history. Just a thought.
With training for the fights underway, Danny had been suffering from a bad back, which was causing him a lot of pain. Much like last season, the editors of the show then went to great lengths to focus on a fighter who was dealing with an injury, making it seem like he did nothing but complain for the duration of his training leading up to the fight.
Finally, at fight time, Danny Abaddi stepped into the Octagon to face a very tall order as Ed Herman stood across the cage from him. Herman is probably the favorite to win the 185-pound division because of his excellent wrestling and his experience advantage over just about everyone else in the competition.
When the fight started, Abaddi did let his hands go and caught Herman with a stiff shot that woke up the Team Quest member. But once in the clinch, Herman simply overmatched Abaddi, sweeping him and taking the fight to the ground. After all the talk of his ground and pound, Herman didn’t land that many shots on the ground, but did maintain control.
Eventually, Herman got side control and then the mount. Once in a bad position, Abaddi tried to roll to get out of the way and more or less put his arm straight up in the air in the process. Herman locked in an armbar, forcing Abaddi to tap out.
After the fight was over, Herman was victorious, but it looked rather evident that he was starting to buy into his own hype. Even though he probably is the best 185-pounder on the show, he has never looked truly focused. Maybe this lackluster performance will wake him up and he will prove that he really is the best fighter on the show.
The four middleweight semi-finalists are Kalib Starnes, Kendall Grove, Rory Singer, and Ed Herman.
Abaddi went on to brag after his fight that he is now an Ultimate Fighter… and then Tito Ortiz proclaimed to the confessional cam that Abaddi wasn’t an Ultimate Fighter and said that Abaddi’s comment didn’t make any sense.
The last of the opening round fights in the light heavyweight division is scheduled to take place next week when Tito Ortiz’s #1 pick, Matt Hamill, takes on Mike Nickels for the final slot in the semi-finals.
Hamill and Nickels are each hoping to join Michael Bisping, Josh Haynes, and Jesse Forbes in the light heavyweight semi-finals.