Though Urijah Faber’s reflexes looked as sharp as ever in Saturday night’s “TUF 17” finale headliner, “The California Kid” apparently entered into his pivotal bantamweight clash against Scott Jorgensen with virtually no sparring under his belt during his training camp.
Following his fourth-round submission victory over Jorgensen at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Faber (Pictured, file photo) told Fox Sports that he had sustained a hand injury in his Feb. 23 outing against Ivan Menjivar. As a result, the former World Extreme Cagefighting titlist participated in just a single sparring session during the Jorgensen camp in order to protect the appendage.
“It wasn’t one of those injuries where you’re completely out. I thought it might have been fractured, but if it was, it wasn’t a deep fracture, because I was able to twist bottles and things like that,” said Faber. “I stayed in great shape, and I had all my coaches help me to prepare in other ways. I was able to run. I was able to tape it up and do mitt work, as long as I knew punches were coming. I was able to grapple -- just with people that I trust -- and so I wasn’t really worried about it.”
The injury notwithstanding, Faber looked razor sharp in the early stages of his clash with Jorgensen and remained one step ahead of his foe as the first round progressed, stuffing a takedown attempt and taking Jorgensen’s back before threatening to finish the fight with a guillotine choke.
“I think the biggest thing was just knowing that I would be comfortable wherever,” said Faber. “I wanted a high-paced fight, and I wanted to create some scrambles. We both landed some big punches, but it was that in-between grappling that made the difference.”
Jorgensen began to narrow the gap in round three, upping his output and forcing Faber to counterpunch. Whereas previously Faber had picked his shots from the outside and continually beaten “Young Guns” to the punch during those aforementioned scrambles, Jorgensen exchanged with the former champion much more evenly in the third frame.
Nevertheless, Faber would reassert his dominance in round four, when, after hitting a big double-leg takedown, the Californian secured Jorgensen’s back and locked in another body triangle. From that point, the result was academic, as Faber cinched a fight-ending rear-naked choke that forced his game opponent to relent.
“When you’re at the highest level, the smallest increments [decide] a win,” said Faber. “I was able to make him make a mistake. He was in it the whole time and landed some good punch combos on me. I felt like we were taking turns pushing the pace on our feet, but I think my scrambling and grappling was a little edge on my side, and that was the difference.”