It's a little hard to believe, given how quickly both men seem to have entered the spotlight at flyweight, but Justin Scoggins and Dustin Ortiz were only signed to the UFC in August of last year. More interestingly, they were signed to fight each other as a late notice addition to Condit vs. Kampmann 2. For reasons that remain unclear, the bout was scrapped practically the same day. Now, it appears that the two have put pen to paper to meet again as the UFC announced the bout at UFC.com on Monday.
Since his signing, Dustin Ortiz has gone to work, quickly establishing himself as one of the UFC's top flyweight talents. A closely contested loss to former title challenger John Moraga even seems to have been more of a boon than a setback as Ortiz has found himself as a consistently ranked member of the division. His most recent win, a decision over Ray Borg, wasn't as impressive as he might have hoped. The 20 year old gave him all he could handle for three rounds. But it helped firmly establish Ortiz's cred as a strong wrestle-boxer who fights with consistency and aggression.
Scoggins, depending on who you talk to, may be on of the UFC's brightest prospects under 170 lbs. His two UFC fights thus far, wins over Richie Vaculik and Will Campuzano, were entirely dominant in his control of striking, wrestling, and grappling. His more traditional martial arts striking base has made him a fun fighter to watch at range, and his athletic ability and willingness to out-wrestle opponents has made him an almost impossible fighter to predict. A win over Dustin Ortiz would easily be the biggest of Scoggins career, and exactly the sort of fight to boost his visibility in a thin division.
As for how they matchup, I'd favor Scoggins here at the outset, as I believe that he's really a special talent for the flyweight division. But, Ortiz will be a real test of his wrestling and grappling. Vaculik was aggressive and Campuzano was able, but neither of those fighters had nearly the polished takedown or top control game that Ortiz does. And the fact that his boxing is at least respectable, could keep Scoggins from pulling out some of his more dynamic strikes. I'd give Scoggins the edge to win, but doing so would definitely prove a lot; Ortiz is a difficult opponent.
The TUF 19 Finale takes place on July 6th in Las Vegas and will be headlined by BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar. Bloody Elbow will be sure to keep you up to date with more card announcements as they occur.