It appeared the former Ultimate Fighter season 3 veteran was on his way to being finished in the second round after opponent Mike Rodriguez landed a crushing knee to the body.
Instead of a stoppage, referee Chris Tognoni paused the action for a low blow while giving Herman time to recover. Replays showed the knee didn’t land anywhere near the groin but there was no way to change the referee’s decision so the fight was allowed to continue.
“I don’t know where I got hit,” Herman said afterwards. “But I know I was hurt and I went down. I don’t know if it was to the groin or to the body. All I know is I went down.”
On the restart, Herman was able to survive to the end of the round but it appeared he was about to suffer the same fate in the third.
Rodriguez landed several stinging elbows to the side of the head before Herman crumbled to the mat as the New England native looked to pour on the punishment. Once again, Herman showed incredible toughness as he avoided the damage and eventually grabbed onto Rodriguez’s arm in a kimura from the bottom.
Eventually, Herman locked in the submission and despite the best attempts from Rodriguez to squirm free, he was finally forced to tap out after his arm was twisted completely behind his back. The end came at 4:01 in the third round.
“My experience pulled through,” Herman said. “He’s a big strong guy. It was a tough one. They’re all tough these days. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”
While it probably wasn’t the way he wanted to win, Herman still got the job done as he wins his third straight fight overall while Rodriguez might start thinking of an appeal after such a controversial decision in the second round.