This one always felt like the sequel to Griffin-Bonnar in that it came a year later, didn’t generate as much attention, but was still really good even though the lead characters had changed.
Both men scored consecutive submission wins in their first two fights to advance to the middleweight finals against one another, and the action and excitement escalated the longer the fight progressed.
In the first, Herman took Grove to the canvas, but got trapped in an armbar and was forced to defend. It was ground-and-pound versus submission attempts as they battled on the canvas, with Herman looking to get off damage and the lanky Grove throwing up submission attempts whenever opportunities arose.
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They were back on the canvas early in the second and the pattern persisted, with Grove attacking with triangle chokes, getting bloodied by the defending Herman in the process as he worked himself free. Late in the round, as Grove settled into top position, Herman locked up a deep triangle choke of his own, reversing the momentum, only for Grove to wriggle free and look to land to close out the round.
Grove came out looking to strike and the exhausted Herman managed to secure a takedown, passing to side control as the long-limbed Hawaiian tried to find an opening off his back. Midway through the final stanza, Herman dumped Grove to the canvas again and took his back, flattening Grove out and landing punches before switching to an armbar attempt.
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But Grove escaped, passed, and took Herman’s back in return, fishing his arm under Herman’s neck. As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Herman’s face continued turning a deep shade of red before the final horn brought the bout to a halt.
Just like with Griffin and Bonnar, UFC President Dana White wasn’t going to allow Herman to leave empty handed after a fight like that, awarding the Team Quest representative a contract as well.