Two hardcore wrestlers who have made huge impacts in the MMA game are set to square off at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.  Former WEC champion Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen are going to face each other at the Mandalay Events Center to see which one gets to stay in the title hunt and which one gets to be a stepping stone for future bantamweights looking to make a run at Dominick Cruz’s title belt.

Faber and Cruz are former training partners, and both of them have big gas tanks, a ton of durability and awesome wrestling.  Both guys are coming off submission wins in the wake of losses, and they are looking to carry their momentum into a UFC that is in a position of cutting really good fighters to make room for new blood.  This fight will most certainly be a barnburner for the record books.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills match up against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Faber – 9, Jorgensen – 10

Jorgensen (L) (James Law/Heavy MMA)

In the striking department, Faber and Jorgensen are very closely matched.  Against dominant strikers like Dominick Cruz, Mike Brown, Renan Barao, Eddie Wineland and Jose Aldo, neither has done anything special, but that statement is full of asterisks.

Faber was able to beat Eddie Wineland by decision, which was impressive, although it was both fighters’ UFC debuts and Wineland clearly didn’t handle the nerves as well as Faber.  Faber also continued on in his second fight with Mike Brown, using only his elbows in lieu of two broken hands.  That was a historic fight, to say the least.  However, Faber hasn’t had any kind of significant knockout win in six and a half years, so his striking game has not been anything devastating to his opponents.

Jorgensen has definitely showcased better striking skills recently.  He has gone the distance with Brad Pickett, Cruz and Barao.  He did get knocked out by Wineland, but it was about a year after he beat the heck out of Ken Stone in the first round.  Jorgensen’s striking has proven to be slightly more technical that Faber’s, as he throws less wild-man punches.

Both fighters have recently changed up their striking games, adding a little Colorado flavor.  Duane Ludwig, an accomplished kickboxer from the Denver area, has made a permanent move to Faber’s home camp, becoming a main coach at Team Alpha Male.

Jorgensen, on the other hand, has been training in Englewood, Colo., a Denver suburb, working on his striking at Kru Marc Montoya’s Factory X Muay Thai with UFC star Chris Camozzi and company.

For this match-up, Jorgensen gets a slight edge, if for nothing but power.  Jorgensen and Faber both have good technique, but Jorgensen definitely hits harder.

Ground Game: Faber – 10, Jorgensen – 10

Faber (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Even more difficult than scoring the striking on this one is scoring the ground game.  This is really a toss-up. Faber may be a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, versus Jorgensen’s purple belt, but the belt system doesn’t really tell the story in this fight.

When it comes to the ground game, neither of these guys has an edge.  Both Faber and Jorgensen have at least 25 percent or more of their wins coming via submission, but Faber has a limited palette with the rear-naked and guillotine chokes bringing him most of his wins.  Most of Faber’s submission wins come from opponents making mistakes and getting caught in precarious situations.

Jorgensen, on the other hand, has done an excellent job of working his submissions from different positions.  He’s finished with heel hooks, guillotine and rear-naked chokes, as well as, armbars.

While Faber may hold the upper hand in terms of number of submission wins, Jorgensen definitely has a more versatile ground game. Therefore, this aspect of the fight is a draw.

Wrestling: Faber – 10, Jorgensen – 10

Faber (James Law/Heavy MMA)

Faber and his camp may be known for their wrestling prowess.  In fact, his camp almost exclusively trains wrestlers to be MMA fighters.  T.J. Dillashaw, Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez and all of the other Alpha Male guys are former wrestlers.  However, Jorgensen is also a former wrestler, and he used to train with the Alpha Male guys.

In the wrestling arena, Jorgensen is extremely accomplished.  He was a NCAA Division I wrestler with three PAC-10 titles.  Jorgensen does a great job of translating his wrestling experience into MMA.

This one is also a draw.  Whoever gets the upper hand in wrestling can almost positively chalk that one up to getting position quicker.

X-Factor

Five years ago, Faber was seemingly unbeatable.  He was on a huge winning streak in the featherweight division, and it appeared that he couldn’t be taken down.  Then, Mike Brown dropped him as he was attempting a sloppy spin move, and Faber’s world got turned upside down.  Jorgensen has been way more consistent in his game.  Although he may not have an undefeated record, it’s hard to bet against him.  Bot men are durable, but ever since Faber burst into the spotlight, then got dropped, he doesn’t appear to have the same confidence in himself.  Getting hooked by Cruz’s trash talk seemed to bring out a negative side in Faber that Jorgensen doesn’t really show.  Jorgensen doesn’t get swept up in the glamour of his image, and, therefore, doesn’t focus on anything but the battle at hand.  Jorgensen definitely has the upper hand in this battle.

Total: Faber – 29, Jorgensen – 30

Verdict: When it comes to it, this fight could easily end in a draw, but instincts give this one to Jorgensen on the ground.  Faber is still riding the same camp with few variations, but in the Octagon, it hasn’t really done him a ton of favors.  Jorgensen is seeking out variations in coaching and skills, and has grown into a world-class contender.  Faber, heavily commercialized or not, has sort of fallen out of the aura of invincibility that he seemed to carry several years ago.  Look for Jorgensen to take this one.

Top Photo: Scott Jorgensen (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  • Corey Adams

    Disagree. Faber should be the favorite in this one, and will get his hand raised in the end.