Light HeavyweightsGerald Meerschaert (31-13) vs. Ed Herman (25-14)
ODDS: Meerschaert (-140), Herman (+120)
The ramshackle nature of these recent cards has blessed us with some delightfully strange fights, and this is one of them. Even going back to his days on “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2006, Herman has never been considered a plus athlete, but he is absolutely glacial nowadays. Of course, that makes it all the more fun that “Short Fuse” is riding his first winning streak since 2012. There are times when younger athletes can absolutely blow him out of the water, but Herman has been able to rely on his toughness and veteran craft to either hang with or outlast his opponents. Herman was initially slated to serve as a veteran test for Korean prospect Da Un Jung here, but due to Jung’s visa issues, Herman now faces a bit of a mirror match in a late-notice replacement. Meerschaert has had much the same approach as Herman in recent years, albeit down a weight class at middleweight. He attempts to exhaust his more athletic opponents by making things a sloppy dogfight. However, while Herman basically arrived at that approach due to age, that has always been the idea for Meerschaert, though the Wisconsinite has added more tools to his arsenal over time. His last bout showed that there is a clear ceiling for Meerschaert as a contender—a newly aggressive Ian Heinisch leveraged his athleticism into a quick knockout victory—but he still has a few more years left as a gatekeeper. This is going to be a delightfully weird mess. There is not much separating these two, and these types of fights are where Herman is at his best; his bouts against Trevor Smith and C.B. Dollaway, among others, are the type of three-round wars that are among either the best bad fights or the worst good fights out there. These two are going to smash against each other for messy scrambles, and when that does not work, this could turn into an ugly but entertaining barroom brawl. Flip a coin on this one. The pick is Herman via decision—he is probably still the more powerful and savvier fighter—but this one is about the journey, not the destination.
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