When Jake Shields returned to the middleweight division last night (August 11, 2012) on the UFC 150 main card against former Ultimate Fighter season three runner-up Ed Herman, fans were hoping he would be a different fighter.
For three rounds, the rowdy crowd rained down their boos of disapproval on both Herman and Shields in what was clearly the most lackluster fight of the entire night.
But it wasn't entirely Shields' fault either.
In the end, Shields would win a decision, but Herman was definitely to blame nearly just as much for this fight turning into a complete dud.
So what happened that sucked the life out of the arena? And what happens next for both fighters?
Follow me after the jump for our Jake Shields vs. Ed Herman UFC 150 post-fight review and analysis.
Right out of the gate, Herman shoved Shields into the fence and he stayed there. He didn't do much dirty boxing in the clinch, he primarily just tried to stay on the inside. This was because Shields was constantly looking for trip takedowns and submission attempts.
You'd think Herman would realize that going into the clinch against a superior grappler was a bad idea, but he stayed right there.....for the entire round. Neither fighter did much damage, but Shields did score a couple extremely brief takedowns along the cage.
After realizing that Shields was a more active fighter in the clinch, you'd think Herman would take notice and start utilizing his severe striking advantage, but nope.
Instead he went right back to shoving Shields into the fence. This time, Shields made him pay by taking him down and grinding him out for pretty much the rest of the round. Shields was hunting for a Kimura at one point from side control, but most of the time he was content to ride out the position.
In the third round, Herman again immediately shoved Shields into the fence but finally backed off as if something clicked. Too bad Shields had already realized Herman could be taken down and he dove forward and put him on his back, again riding out the rest of the round, even passing to mount although he didn't really do anything with it.
The positional control was more than enough to win the decision for Shields, even if it was a lousy match-up.
For Ed Herman, what was he thinking? I honestly have no idea why he kept going after Shields in the clinch especially when it was so ineffective in the first round. He wasn't getting any good offense in and he was just opening the door for Shields to take him down (which ended up happening). The fact that he went right back to it repeatedly was extremely frustrating to watch. That was a low fight IQ move. On the ground, he defended himself ok, bu the never should have been there in the first place if he hadn't given Shields an all-access pass to an easy takedown by gifting him an opportunity to close the distance. Herman wins the worst gameplan of the night award by a landslide.
For Jake Shields, this is the fighter that the UFC signed, so they shouldn't be surprised that he ground out a decision in unexciting fashion. He's just not a very entertaining fighter when he faces people who know what they're doing and that's what's happened in the UFC. It turns out that a lack of punching power and an overly patient ground-fighting style isn't very conducive to winning big post-fight bonus checks. That being said, he did what he had to do to win the fight so good for him.
A win is a win so he'll move forward. I wouldn't be surprised if he faces fell main card winner Yushin Okami next in a rematch from several years ago. Other potential opponents include Tim Boetsch or Constantinos Philippou.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
If you were Ed Herman, what would you have done differently last night? Can Jake Shields ever be an exciting fighter now that he's back at middleweight?