Jeff Curran made his return to the UFC last night (October 29, 2011) on the UFC 137 after being away from the promotion for nearly eight years.
And the veteran nearly pulled off the upset in a hotly contested bantamweight bout against recent WEC title challenger Scott Jorgensen.
Unfortunately, "Young Guns" was a bit too strong in the wrestling department and his base was too solid on the ground for Curran to be able to get off with his sweeps and submissions from his back.
So what else were the deciding factors in this close match-up? And what happens next for both fighters?
Curran got off to a quick start with aggressive striking which included a multitude of kicks, but Jorgensen became wise to his game, catching a leg kick and putting the veteran Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on his back. The former Boise State wrestler wasn't able to muster much offense against Curran from top position, but he remained there for the majority of the round.
Jorgensen went back to work with strong offense in round two, wrapping up Curran with a front head lock and attacking with a big offense of knees to the head, body and legs.
After finally freeing himself, Curran tried to fight back with a sneaky left knee but Jorgensen, with almost cat-like reflexes, immediately sneaks his right arm underneath Curran's leg, wrapping it up with his elbow.
He then turns away from the fence and powers Curran to the ground with one of the easiest gimme takedowns you could ever get.
Also, because of the way that Jorgensen had Curran's leg wrapped up, he was easily able to immediately be in half guard as he fell to the ground on top of the veteran grappler.
Curran attempted a guillotine choke, but was unable to secure it as Jorgensen rolled away deftly in a wild scramble and eventually took top position again late in the round.
The final frame was primarily contested on the feet, but neither fighter was able to sustain any significant offense. Both Jorgensen and Curran would land a strike or two, but they couldn't put enough together to take a strong combination. When it was all over, Jorgensen was awarded a unanimous decision.
For Jeff Curran, he put up a good fight, most likely significantly better than what was expected against one of the best bantamweights in the world, but it simply wasn't enough. His comfort on his back turned out to be his downfall as Jorgensen, while not putting out much offense with ground and pound, was able to remain on top for much of the first two rounds.
Curran should have earned himself another fight in the UFC with his gritty performance, but it won't be against someone at the top of the division. Expect to see him against a solid prospect coming off a loss in his next fight, perhaps someone like Ian Loveland. If not, they could throw him in against a down on his luck veteran like Eddie Wineland or Damacio Page.
For Jorgensen, this was a decent performance, but it wasn't the type of showing one would expect for a top 10 bantamweight against someone who was currently unranked. He fought cautiously, which isn't necessarily a horrible thing considering how dangerous Curran is capable of being with sweeps and submissions, but still, he could have done a bit more.
After two wins against lesser opposition, it's time for Jorgensen to step up and take on a top 15 bantamweight. A match against ivan Menjivar would be nice, as would a bout against Renan Barao if he's able to get past Brad Pickett next Saturday night.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Were you as excited about this bantamweight attraction as UFC commentator Joe Rogan was last night? Did Scott Jorgensen show you anything?
All gifs by Zombie Prophet via IronForgesIron.com.