Perennial top contender, Scott Jorgensen, takes on former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber in a bantamweight scrap that headlines The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 live finale this Saturday night (April 13, 2013) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a shoulder injury forced flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson out of his fight against John Moraga, this weekend's TUF 17 live finale was left without a headliner. Fortunately, "Young Guns" and "The California Kid" stepped up to save the day.
Jorgensen has experienced an up-and-down career in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
After two wins over lower-ranked opposition, he faced a pair elite combatants, interim champion Renan Barao and number one contender Eddie Wineland, who both dominated him. A finish over John Albert, a relatively green fighter, earned him a new opportunity against Faber.
Does Jorgensen have the mixed martial arts (MMA) skills to earn perhaps the biggest win of his career?
Let's take a closer look.
Jorgensen has developed a respectable, if somewhat flawed, striking game. What he lacks in technical finesse, he makes up for with his determination.
The constant fear of being taken down doesn't hurt, either.
Almost every combination Jorgensen throws begins with a jab -- his primary weapon -- and he does his best to establish it early. Additionally, "Young Guns" will throw double and triple jabs. Besides damaging his opponent, he uses his jab to close the distance and get in range of a takedown.
When Jorgensen decides to follow up his jab, he almost always goes to his straight right hand. "Young Guns" throws the 1-2 combination very frequently, as it's by far his most utilized attack on the feet. Occasionally, he'll switch it up and throw an overhand rather than a cross.
Jorgensen likes to throw a lead right. Because he jabs so frequently, his opponents begin to look for the jab, leaving them open to the right hand. "Young Guns" also manages to cover a good amount of distance and lands it with solid power.
Jorgensen rarely throws more than two-punch combinations. Occasionally, he'll go to the body or head with a left hook. The only exception to this is when he is brawling with his opponent or in the clinch, where he'll get very aggressive with hooks and uppercuts.
Jorgensen has decent kicks. He'll throw inside leg kicks and high kicks fairly often, but rarely sets them up. The exception to this is his outside leg kick, which he often uses to end his 1-2 combination.
Jorgensen's striking flaws account for most of his losses. Namely, he has trouble defending kicks and doesn't move his head very well.
Interim champ Renan Barao and sidelined strap-hanger Dominick Cruz both managed to disrupt Jorgensen's wrestling game with their kicks. They would stand outside of his boxing range and kick his legs out from under him, forcing him to shoot from far outside.
Jorgensen's lack of head movement is also a huge issue. Barao, Cruz, and Wineland all repeatedly snapped his head back with straight punches, because he pushes forward without moving his head. By giving his opponent a still target and moving forward, he allows them to land frequently and with increased power.
Jorgensen is a three-time Pac-10 Champion wrestler for Boise State. Despite being smaller than most of his opponents, he manages to overpower almost everyone he fights.
Like most elite wrestlers, Jorgensen has a solid double-leg takedown. Instead of turning a corner or attempting a trip, he prefers to drive his opponents into the cage. From there, he'll lift and slam them to the mat.
Jorgensen does his best work from the clinch. He often overpowers his opponent, pushing them around before finishing the attempt with a trip. He is very oportunistic, catching his opponent's knee attempts and using it to throw them to the mat.
One of Jorgensen's better techniques is to shoot for a double leg and use his shot to secure a clinch with double underhooks. Having both underhooks makes takedowns much easier, especially when his opponent is pinned against the cage.
While his positional control is good, it's his striking from guard that is more impressive. Jorgensen manages to get a lot of torque from the guard and land big punches. Against Ken Stone, "Young Guns" leaned backwards in Stone's full guard, stretching him out, before shifting his weight forward and landing a knockout punch.
So far, Jorgensen's takedown defense has been very solid. The only person to take him down and keep him down with any consistency was Dominick Cruz, whose unorthodox attack left Scotty confused and made it very hard for him to anticipate when a takedown was coming.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)
Jorgensen has earned a purple belt in BJJ. Throughout his UFC career, Jorgensen has shown a solid understanding of submission grappling, both on the bottom and on top.
Because of his elite wrestling game, Jorgensen is rarely on his back. The few times he is, he has shown a basic, defensive guard. Mostly, he just looks for underhooks so he can stand back up. One promising sign is that in his fight with Barao, his corner recommended he pull guard against the Brazilian.
Obviously, they wouldn't tell him to do so unless he had confidence in his bottom game.
On top, Jorgensen can stifle his foe and pass their guard. Jorgensen likes to duck under his opponent's legs, stack them, and pass around to side control. While he occasionally leaves himself open to triangles, his posture is strong enough to stop them from being finished. In his fight against excellent submission specialist Jeff Curran, Jorgensen spent the majority of the fight dueling with him on the ground.
Jorgensen avoided dozens of triangles and sweep attempts and even managed to pass Curran's guard a couple of times.
Since he joined WEC, Jorgensen has shown an aptitude with chokes. In addition to his recent rear naked choke finish over John Albert, he utilized two very different, and very dangerous, guillotine techniques to finish Frank Gomez and Chad George.
Because Jorgensen is an excellent wrestler, his opponents often spend a lot of time trying to get out from under him. When they do, he likes to latch on to a front headlock, which opens up all sorts of front chokes. This is exactly the setup that lead to both finishes of Gomez and George.
Against Gomez, Jorgensen chose to attack with the front rear naked choke grip. This is an especially deep choke; it doesn't hurt a bit, it just puts the victim to sleep. Once this choke is locked up, it is almost impossible to get out.
Like Gomez, George is up against the cage and trying to stand up. It's hard to tell because of the camera angle, but instead of the rear naked choke grip guillotine, he uses what appears to be a ten finger grip. Basically, one hand cups the other and both are forced into the neck. Then, the fighter attempting the submission puts his chest on top of his opponent's head and brings his wrist toward his chest.
Unlike the front rear naked choke, this guillotine is very painful, as it drives a thumb into the losers windpipe. If the person in the choke doesn't tap immediately, as George frantically did, then they will pass out.
Jorgensen isn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest competitor at bantamweight. In fact, standing at only 66 inches, he's one of the shorter fighters and is likely more suited for flyweight. Despite this, he routinely imposes his will on larger opponents.
The reason he can do this is because he doesn't stop being aggressive. When Jorgensen is fighting for a takedown, he'll continue to drive, lift, and transition until he gets it -- or an advantageous position.
One example of Jorgensen's tenacity is his fight against Wineland.
Wineland was stuffing all of Jorgensen's takedowns with ease and was picking him apart at range. Instead of fighting defensively, "Young Guns" attacked constantly. He was doing fairly well, even managing to open up a gash above Wineland's eye, before a big right hand put Scotty to sleep.
Best chance for success
Jorgensen is facing a very stiff test against his former training partner. He will have to be at the top of his game to stop "The California Kid."
The biggest key for Jorgensen here is to avoid being on his back. Faber is dynamic with punches and submissions from the top, and will do serious damage if he can get on top and open up.
Jorgensen needs to keep Faber away from him with his jab and straight right hand. Faber can get wild with his striking, so if "Young Guns" can pick his spots, he may be able to outpoint him for a decision. Additionally, Faber doesn't handle leg kicks very well, so Jorgensen should try to land as many as possible.
If Jorgesen has an opportunity to take Faber down, he needs to do so. While holding Faber down is far from easy, a successful takedown will make Faber hesitate to leap in with punches.
Can Jorgensen sprawl and brawl his way to a win, or will Faber advance even closer to another title shot?
Time will tell.