It’s hard to see where Rodrigo Damm has the talent to compete in the UFC featherweight division. Most fighters have at least one dimension they’re remarkably good at. Take Justin Salas as an example. Salas is a low-level UFC lightweight by all accounts, a fighter who struggles in striking matches and hasn’t shown much submission offense. What Salas has going for him is very good wrestling, as he’s landed eight takedowns without being taken down himself even once.
When I look at Damm’s statistical profile, what stands out is that nothing stands out. Damm has absorbed a very high 4.50 significant strikes per minute, including 102 significant strikes absorbed in his split decision victory over Mizuto Hirota. He has only landed two takedowns in eight attempts to go along with one guard pass and one submission attempt. Damm’s tendency is clearly to stand and strike, but with 147 significant strikes landed, 199 absorbed, and no knockdowns, it’s hard to see why Damm doesn’t pursue takedowns more often.
The only data I have on Ivan Jorge stems from his UFC debut, a unanimous decision victory over Keith Wisniewski at UFC Fight Night 28 last September. In that fight, through two rounds, Wisniewski was up 29-24 in significant strikes and 52-28 in total strikes while Jorge had landed two takedowns in the second round. Given that Wisniewski was one of the lowest-rated UFC welterweights in FPR, it’s not a good sign that Jorge struggled so much against him in the first ten minutes.
In fairness to Jorge, his 13 career wins by submission (in a 25-3 overall record) indicate that his strength is in takedowns and grappling, and Wisniewski’s takedown defense is the best aspect of his game. Jorge also took that fight on short notice, and when the fight advanced to the third round, Jorge out-struck Wisniewski 45-13, landing a lot of hard knees to the body. In this fight against Damm, Jorge will be fighting two weight classes lighter and is likely to perform better.
EDIT: This fight is at lightweight, not featherweight as I originally believed.
In a perfect world I’d have a lot more data on both fighters here. I want to know more about Damm’s takedown defense and grappling, and I want to know more about Jorge overall. From what I do know, I believe Jorge can at least be competitive standing and is likely to have the overall advantage on the ground as well. That’s enough for me to favor Jorge to win in what looks like a tough fight for both guys.
Pick: Ivan Jorge by decision
DEGENERATE GAMBLER’S CORNER
Jorge is the favorite at -130 with Damm the underdog at +110. My numbers suggest Jorge is a 61% favorite, which puts him at closer to -150 but that’s with a large margin of error. I can’t justify a bet here.