Two very tough bantamweights in search of a much-needed victory will meet this Friday night (June 8, 2012) as former bantamweight title challenger Scott Jorgensen takes on original WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland on the UFC on FX 3 main card in Sunrise, Florida.
Jorgensen was almost back into title contention after winning his first two UFC bouts at 135 pounds, but he hit a speed bump named Renan Barao (who's now slated to challenge for the interim title). "Young Guns" still has at least another run or two left in him, but it all starts this Friday night.
Eddie Wineland was on the verge of getting a shot at reclaiming his title, but a pair of losses in his first two UFC bouts to Alpha Male teammates Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez have him spiraling out of control. He's looking to right the ship against Jorgensen, but that's no easy task.
Will "Young Guns" be too much for Wineland? Can Wineland get back to title form against Jorgensen? What's the key to victory for both talented bantamweights on Friday night?
Let's find out:Scott Jorgensen
Record: 13-5 overall, 2-1 in the UFC
How he got here: Scotty Jorgensen was a successful wrestler in college, competing in Division I at Boise State and he transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2006. In just his sixth professional bout, he was competing in the WEC at bantamweight.
"Young Guns" wasn't given the easy rode either, getting thrown to the likes of Damacio Page, Kenji Osawa and Antonio Banuelos in three of his first four WEC bouts. His controversial split decision loss to Banuelos lit a fire under him and he reeled off five consecutive victories to earn a title shot against champion Dominick Cruz in the final WEC event ever late last year.
Jorgensen was a step slow against Cruz and was beaten to the punch badly over the course of five rounds, losing a dominant unanimous decision. He got back on track against Ken Stone in his last bout, knocking American Top Team fighter out cold from within his full guard on the ground.
Next "Young Guns" took on veteran bantamweight and former WEC title challenger Jeff Curran and outwrestled his opponent over the course of three rounds to score a unanimous decision. He hit a bump in the road in elite bantamweight Renan Barao his last time out, getting beaten to the punch repeatedly and having difficulty dealing with the Brazilian's speed.
Now, he'll be stepping in against a long-time veteran Eddie Wineland.
How he gets it done: Jorgensen is not the fastest guy in the division by a long shot, but he makes up for it with power. If he can connect with a big punch, your lights will go out and if he lock up your neck with a guillotine choke like his brutal finish against Chad George in 2010, you're going to be in some serious trouble.
Jorgensen is also patient in the stand-up, he does a good job of sitting back and striking when openings are available rather than forcing the issue. When his opponents get too aggressive in the stand-up realm, he's also got that solid wrestling in his back pocket where he can shoot in and put an opponent on their back.
It'll be an interesting dynamic to see if Jorgensen would rather stand with Wineland or try to take him down for three rounds. He might have the confidence to mix it up as well.
Expect to see Jorgensen stand with Wineland as long as he feels he's got the advantage there but if the Indiana-based fighter is picking him apart, "Young Guns" will go to his bread and butter which is his wrestling. He's got some pretty brutal ground and pound as well, even from a closed guard. Jorgensen can create some very damaging blows without need of much range whatsoever.
Record: 18-8-1 overall, 0-2 in the UFC
Key Wins: George Roop (WEC 46), Ken Stone (WEC 53)
How he got here: Eddie Wineland got his start in mixed martial arts way back in 2003 when he was just 18 years old. He didn't get off to a great start, going 3-4-1 in his first eight bouts, but he got his act together, winning seven straight bouts which not only earned him a shot in the WEC but also an opportunity to compete for the promotion's inaugural title against hometown favorite Antonio Banuelos.
Wineland would knock Banuelos out to capture the first ever WEC 135 pound title, but would drop the belt via competitive decision to Chase Beebe. He would return to the promotion two years later, getting submitted by Rani Yahya, but a four fight winning streak in the WEC including a pair of "Knockout of the Night" awards had him right back in title contention.
The New Breed Academy product fought in a number one contender match against Urijah Faber just over one year ago, but would drop a decision to "The California Kid" and things wouldn't get any easier for him as he stepped in against former title challenger and Faber teammate Joseph Benavidez.
Wineland would be a step slow in that fight, getting caught repeatedly on the feet by Benavidez, losing another decision. Now, as he prepares to step in against his third consecutive top 10 bantamweight in Scott Jorgensen, he finds himself in serious need of a victory.
How he gets it done: Wineland's power has always been his saving grace as a mixed martial artist. Whether it's via head kick (Banuelos), slam (Ken Stone), body punch (Will Campuzano) or just a regular old fashioned punch to the head, Wineland has that natural power to change the course of a fight at any instant.
I expect him to try to keep this fight standing and mix up his attack. He looked stagnant against Benavidez, but Jorgensen doesn't have Benavidez's speed. Wineland should not just throw head punches but should mix in kicks to the legs, kicks to the body, even occasionally to the head, all-the-while firing off both head and body punches.
Wineland doesn't use his body punches enough. If he can keep Jorgensen guessing, he could fluster "Young Guns" and force the Boise State alumni to make a key mistake.
The main thing Wineland doesn't want to do is find himself put on his back. I highly doubt he'd be able to put forth much offense from that position and it would almost certainly lose him a round.
Fight X-Factor: The biggest factor for this fight has to be time. Jorgensen has kept a relatively regular fighting schedule ever since making his UFC debut a year ago. Wineland, on the other hand, has been delayed by injuries and been completely irregular. It will have been nearly 10 months by the time he finally steps into the cage this Friday night and no matter what anyone says, ring rust is a real thing.
Even though Jorgensen lost his last bout in February, the fact that he's fought twice since Wineland's last bout speaks volumes. Wineland is the type of fighter who wants to compete regularly so he very well could be overeager once he finally steps into the Octagon again.
Bottom Line: This is a very intriguing bout between two very tough bantamweights with some solid power. If the fight remains standing throughout, I have very high expectations of either a finish or some serious stand-up action. There is some serious potential for some extremely heavy punches to be thrown in the pocket on multiple occasions. On the ground, Jorgensen usually tries aggressively to hurt his opponent with punches and elbows as well so this one should be pretty entertaining no matter where it goes.
Who will come out on top at UFC on FX 3? Tell us your predictions in the comments below!