Pitting two of the most reliable Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight fighters in a mid-tier clash of contenders, Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen kicked off the televised portion of UFC on FX 3 with a bang last night (June 8, 2012) from the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida.
With both men bloodied after a rousing opening round, Wineland delivered a smashing right hand for the finisher as the second stanza was heating up, putting an exclamation point on the signature performance of his career.
The former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion has soldiered through a long career, much of it in relative obscurity, outside of the hardcore mixed martial arts (MMA) fans familiar with his body of work. As the former WEC champion, he held the belt long enough to lose it to Chase Beebe -- right when the organization was taking off with the huge promotional push it got from being acquired by the UFC in 2007.
Jorgensen, meanwhile, has been a reliable, steady-if-unspectacular commodity. Always tough and prepared, the apex of his campaign was a one-sided decision loss to champion Dominick Cruz -- the bout was held in the WEC's final event, before it was merged into the parent promotion -- and he'd since gone 2-1 in the Octagon.
The win certainly is cause for reshuffling the bantamweight deck of contenders, as Wineland becomes the first person to stop Jorgenson, whose four previous losses had been by decision.
How'd he do it, exactly?
In fact, he landed it several times in the opening round, often behind a rangefinder jab.
Then, just as the duo seemed to be settling into a rhythm somewhere beyond the feeling-out process, but short of a full-scale brawl, Wineland shot home a thumping left jab that dropped Jorgensen, sending "Young Guns" to the canvas. Wineland, perhaps in a bit of mental jousting, then took Jorgensen down with a leg trip, as though to send the message that he could outwrestle Jorgenson, as well.
A big part of winning fights is convincing the other guy that what he's doing isn't working. Wineland's opening-rounds accuracy with quick counter rights had definitely conveyed that message as the second round kicked off. Jorgensen, bleeding from various welts and lumps on his visage, had a bit of success as he opened a gash over Wineland's left eye, with both men bleeding and circling.
Jorgensen then shot in for a takedown -- his signature and go-to move, especially in a match up he desperately needed to get off of the feet -- and Wineland stuffed the double-leg beautifully, with a textbook whizzer. That pretty much scuttled Jorgensen's confidence in his takedowns, and set him up for the finisher moments later.
After shooting in a double jab, Wineland dropped a perfect cross down the pipe to drop Jorgensen, subsequently pouncing for three flush shots' worth of ground and pound prior to the stoppage.
With the biggest win of his career, and a stoppage of the eminently durable Jorgensen, perhaps Wineland really has put it all together. Fans have seen glimpses of his considerable ability, and the future has all sorts of possibilities. The streaking Michael McDonald would be an ideal next challenge -- McDonald's blend of power, explosiveness and rising star would be fittingly tested against a proven vet in Wineland.
For Jorgensen, this is a tough loss, but one that he can put behind him with a solid performance. A rematch with Brad Pickett, whom Jorgensen decisioned in 2010, would be a telling assessment of where both stand in the division.