With Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber scheduled for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) and a rubber match, the 135-pound division is in dire need of fresh faces.
Enter Renan Barao, a talented Brazilian with a gaudy record of 27-1, and four wins under the Zuffa banner. With good stand up and a savvy ground game, the Nova Uniao product is a rare combination of an exceptionally athletic young fighter with a boatload of experience.
Scott Jorgensen, meanwhile -- who Barao will battle on the UFC 143 pay-per-view (PPV) main card at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, later this evening (Feb. 4, 2012) is a no-frills, exceptionally consistent wrestler with good conditioning and a ton of pluck and persistence. He's never been beaten inside the distance and relies on outworking opponents, along with dictating the pace of a fight.
While vastly outclassed in his decision loss to champ Cruz, Jorgensen still remains one of the better fighters in the bantamweight division, and this should be a revealing test for both.
Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 143 fight between Renan Barao vs. Scott Jorgensen:
Barao looked fantastic in dismantling Brad Pickett in his last fight, displaying a wonderful sense of timing and an ability to control the range. On the flip side, Jorgensen has a quick right hands he'll use in tie-ups and to set up takedown attempts, typically popping foes with it before changing levels to shoot.
Barao needs to stick, move and pick his spots while stuffing takedown attempts, as that's where Jorgensen will look to score points, break his confidence and run him out of gas. Jorgensen shouldn't have any illusions about a kickboxing-style match, as that clearly favors Barao, who is the rangier and more diverse striker.
This fight is a very deliberate piece of matchmaking to provide a viable opponent for whomever wins the third Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz match. And there are no accidents it's the red-hot Barao against a proven commodity in Jorgensen, who's never been stopped and is a durable type guaranteed to give an honest effort.
Barao will score points early, perhaps knocking Jorgensen down and softening him up on the ground. It's unlikely he'll be able to submit Jorgensen early, but he'll push ahead with his athleticism and multidimensional attack, mixing in kicks and strikes as well as a stifling ground game should Jorgensen hit takedowns.
Add it up over three rounds, and Barao is primed for a breakout performance, by late stoppage or one-sided decision.
Barao via late stoppage or decision
Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 143 results of all the "Diaz vs. Condit" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:00 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Saturday morning.
See you later!
Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or Jason@jasonprobst.com