Where to start with Curran? His footprints in the sport have wandered through many promotions, weight classes and opponents. Curran has appeared in the UFC (a 2004 decision loss to Matt Serra as a lightweight), Pride Fighting Championships (a decision loss to fellow UFC 137 entry Hatsu Hioki), Strikeforce (a submission win via injury over current TUF cast member Dustin Neace), both pre- and post-Zuffa WEC (losing four of five, but only to the very elite) as well as Bellator, the IFL, XFO, King of the Cage, SuperBrawl, and the list goes on.
He's competed at lightweight, featherweight and bantamweight. He holds wins over current UFC fighters Raphael Assuncao, Donny Walker Wagnney Fabiano tasting defeat from ultra-reputable names like Norifumi Yamamoto, Urijah Faber, Joseph Benavidez, Mike Brown, Takeya Mizugaki and the aforementioned Serra and Hioki.
A longtime BJJ black belt under the great Pedro Sauer, Curran is unnervingly technical on the ground and thoroughly adept in all grappling aspects: guard play, defense, strikes, subs, sweeps and scrambles. He started taekwondo at a young age and eventually honed up a boxing game to present a solid striking base in MMA.
The recurring theme in analyzing the breadth of weight classes is that the heavier guys offer many more tangible strengths and weaknesses, where the lighter fighters at the other end of the spectrum are pretty much bulletproof in all categories.
That rings true in this bantamweight tilt, as perennial contender Scott Jorgensen has no gaping holes nor combat deficiencies to cite. Like Curran, he's solid across the board but generally takes care of business with a simple wrestle-boxing combo, and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Gifs and analysis in the full entry.
Scott Jorgensen (12-4) vs. Jeff Curran (33-13-1)
Though both fighters are highly dynamic, the variables at play are rather straightforward.
Jorgensen basically holds a tight stance and whirls out simple one-twos with considerable heat.
He's always a stalker; ushering his adversary backward to the cage while cutting off angles and interspersing takedown attempts with his stiff punches.
Complementing his D1 wrestling acumen, Jorgensen is also considerably strong, mean and aggressive.
Technique will always be superior to raw power, just like combining the two equally -- like Jorgensen does -- will also prevail over technique alone.
Curran is slick on the ground and has the deeper layered arsenal, but Jorgensen is pretty savvy in picking his spots, steering clear of danger zones and using his physical attributes to maintain control.
To the left, Ken Stone grabs wrist control after hanging his leg over the shoulder to threaten with the triangle, and Jorgensen just postures straight up to his feet while Stone goes along for the ride.
While risky and not the most advisable approach, Jorgensen's gritty style has served him well, as evinced by his current number six spot in the world rankings and the smashing outcome shown to the right.
However, one can't refute that Curran could capitalize on such a sequence more proactively than Stone did.
Curran has legit stand up, but I don't think he can replicate the level of ferocity or nimbleness of those who topped Jorgensen.
That list of strikers also endeavored to keep things on the feet with footwork and a sprawl where Curran will likely oblige any of Jorgensen's takedown attempts.
Apologies are in order as -- despite his lengthy tour of duty in MMA -- captures of Curran are not aplenty. You'll have to take my word that he's rock-solid everywhere with his grappling craft standing as his gleaming weapon.
I see this pairing as a case where Curran is great in many things, but probably not better in the areas Jorgensen will enforce. "Young Guns" has revealed a bit of an issue with checking leg kicks and is far from impermeable on the feet, however his no-frills boxing is crisp and powerful and he should be wise to avoid Curran's core competency on the ground.
One major advantage I see for Curran is that he knows this run is his last chance in the big leagues and that he deserves to be the underdog. This instills a fighter with the beaming confidence of having nothing to lose; an ingredient homogenous in the mixture of many high profile upsets.
Curran's adept diversity can be just as much of an ally as an enemy. The onus is on Jorgensen to unfailingly damper Curran's crafty arsenal, likely for all fifteen minutes considering how tough "Big Frog" is to finish (8 decision losses with 3 subs -- which isn't going to happen -- and 2 TKOs). This leaves a wide window of opportunity for Curran to work some of his old school magic.
The -500 betting lines for Jorgensen seem atrocious to me, though he's obviously the clear favorite. I'd stamp an "Upset Alert" on this one, expecting a Jorgensen decision but not counting out a wily gamer like Curran.
My Prediction: Scott Jorgensen by decision
All gifs via Zombie Prophet of IronForgesIron.com