The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 Finale will feature a pair of veteran middleweights squaring off this Saturday night (June 4, 2011) in Las Vegas, Nevada, in a long-awaited battle between two men itching to make their Octagon returns for over a year and a half.
Ed Herman was last seen in August of 2009 inside the cage against Aaron Simpson at UFC 102. "Short Fuse" injured his knee badly in both the first and second rounds of the match and literally went down swinging after his knee gave out on a head kick attempt. After re-aggravating the injury and going through multiple stints of surgery and rehabilitation, TUF 3 finalist is finally ready to make his return.
Tim Credeur was in a similar situation.
He injured his foot badly before a scheduled UFC Fight Night 20 match against Mike Massenzio and a brain abnormality in his CT scan before a UFC 113 bout aagainst Tom Lawler kept him from the cage for another full year while he went through a rigorous series of tests. "Crazy" Tim finally got the green light and he'll be stepping into the cage for the first time since September of 2009.
With a combined 41 months away from the Octagon, can both men shake off the rust and put on a show for the fans? Will Herman's knee problems be an issue with his offensive grappling and top control fighting style? How "crazy" will Credeur be inside the cage after surviving a life-altering scare?
Follow me after the jump to find out:
Record: 21-9 overall, 4-4 in the UFC
How he got here: Ed Herman busted his butt on the local Pacific northwest circuit before back-to-back victories over Nick Thompson and former UFC champion Dave Menne earned him an invite to TUF 3. Herman made it to the finals where he would lose a gritty decision to Kendall Grove in a fight that impressed Dana White so much that he awarded both men a "six figure" UFC contract.
Since being awarded the contract, "Short Fuse" has been a mid-level middleweight, defeating all the guys he was supposed to beat while losing to the Demian Maias and Alan Belchers of the world. He showed what type of fighter he was against Aaron Simpson at UFC 102. He injured his knee in the first round of the fight and came out for the second round anyway, falling to the canvas on a head kick attempt early in the round. Herman considered retiring after re-aggravating the injury in training but he stayed the course and is finally ready to go after 21 months outside the Octagon.
How he gets it done: There aren't too many surprises when Ed is in the cage. He's going to fight very hard, he's going to shoot for takedowns and he's going to try to beat his opponent up on the ground or submit them.
Despite having 13 of his 21 career victories coming by way of submission, don't expect one from Herman on Saturday night. With Credeur's excellent jiu-jitsu skills, it will most likely be Herman who's using his grappling defensively, warding off attempts while he tries to ground and pound from above.
Unless he's drastically improved in his time away from the cage, Herman's stand-up leaves something to be desired. His best chances of winning this fight will be to work his offensive wrestling skills to take Credeur down early and often. Once has has "Crazy" Credeur down, expect some nasty short elbows from above as "Short Fuse" looks to either end the fight by cut, ground and pound stoppage or decision due to positional dominance.
Record: 12-3 overall, 3-1 in the UFC
Key Wins: Nick Catone (UFC Fight Night 18), Cale Yarbrough (UFC Fight Night 14)
Key Losses: Nate Quarry (UFC Fight Night 19), Chael Sonnen (Bodog Fight: Costa Rica)
How he got here: Tim Credeur (pronounced "crater") hails from Louisiana where he runs the Gladiator gym. He gained a reputation as a fierce finisher as the first 14 fights of his professional career were all stoppages inside the first two rounds. Tim was one of the favorites of TUF 7 but fell short against Jesse Taylor in the show's semifinals.
Once in the UFC, he scored three consecutive stoppage victories on UFC Fight Night cards before earning a shot at TUF season one veteran Nate Quarry. His fight with Quarry was legendary, with both men trading knockdowns and scrapping in a sloppy brawl for three straight rounds. It was the first fight of Credeur's career to go to a decision but it earned him a "Fight of the Night" bonus as well as being a contender for "Fight of the Year."
Credeur would injure his foot badly while training with Forrest Griffin in preparation for a UFC Fight Night 20 bout against Mike Massenzio. After recovering from the foot injury, doctors discovered a brain abnormality during a routine CT scan in the lead-up to his UFC 113 fight against Tom Lawler. Credeur would be sidelined for over a year, waiting to get official confirmation on whether the abnormality was a tumor or an aneurysm. After multiple expensive tests and a ton of stress, he was relieved to find out that the abnormality was nothing more than a birth mark, something that's been in his head most likely since he was born and he'd be able to resume his career. He plans on taking out all his frustration on Herman this weekend.
How he gets it done: Credeur, while a fantastic Brazilian jiu-jitsu player, is a bit of a jack of all trades. No matter how he tries to get it done, there's no doubt about it that he'll be shooting for the finish from the time the referee starts the fight until the final horn sounds.
"Crazy" Tim has improving boxing technique and he showed it in his last fight against Nate Quarry, constantly pushing forward and throwing his hands, clipping "The Rock" and nearly finishing the fight in the first round. There's no doubt he's been working on his technique in the time he's been away from the cage so expect Tim to have the advantage standing.
On the ground, Credeur is relentless. He has eight submission victories in his career, most by armbar, but is not afraid of being put on his back at all. He has a dangerous guard and some excellent defense off his back. If Herman takes him down, expect submission after submission to be thrown his way until he either catches "Short Fuse" or the round concludes.
Fight "X-Factor:" There's no doubt about it, the "X-factor" for this fight has to be how each man spent his time away from the cage during their long layoffs.
Ed Herman spent much of his time rehabbing his injured knee. He was on his way to recovery before re-injuring it in early 2010. The re-aggravation was so frustrating that Herman even considered walking away from the sport. He's finally healed and ready to go again, but honestly, "Short Fuse" hasn't had a lot of time to work on improving his skills since he's mainly just trying to get back into the groove again.
Unlike Herman, Tim Credeur has been able to train consistently in the time he's been away from the cage. He was running his Gladiator gym in Louisiana as the head trainer during his down-time and he's been constantly improving. The brain abnormality wasn't a physical thing so he hopes to be fresh, improved and deadly once the cage doors close on Saturday night.
Bottom line: With the injury to Jonathan Brookins, this fight was bumped to the televised card and both fighters are going to scrap and claw until someone can no longer continue. These are two men who have put it all on the line in the past and they won't let the fans down. Herman is going to constantly pressure with his wrestling and ground and pound while Credeur tries to defend and punish him with submissions and standing strikes. These guys don't know the definition of cage rust.
Who will come out on top at the Ultimate Finale? Let us know in the comments section below!