It looked like Keith Wisniewski might be the fresher fighter starting the third round Wednesday, but Ivan Jorge flipped the script on him.
Wisniewski lost a unanimous decision to "Batman" at UFC Fight Night 28, which took place in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
It was Wisniewski's third straight loss in the UFC since returning to the promotion in 2011, and likely put his job with the promotion in jeopardy.
Jorge (25-3, 1-0 UFC) picked up a pair of 29-28 scores and a 30-27 from the judges for the decision win over Wisniewski (28-15-1, 0-4 UFC) on the preliminary card, which aired live on Fox Sports 1.
Jorge was making his UFC debut in front of his home country fans in Brazil, and also was fighting up a weight class from his natural home at lightweight.
He took the fight on short notice when Wisniewski's original opponent, Brazil's Marcelo Guimares, pulled out with an injury less than three weeks before the fight.
"He was very tenacious, kept moving forward and also very hard to take down," Wisniewski said. "He was very strong in the clinch. Now I've got to think things over. It was a tough loss for me."
Jorge wanted takedowns early against the Hobart resident. But for the most part, Wisniewski was able to defend them. And when he did so, he was able to start to work knees to Jorge's midsection in the clinch.
In the second round, Jorge was able to land a gentle takedown, but Wisniewski was right back to his feet – where Jorge held on for a solid minute before referee Mario Yamasaki finally broke them apart.
The two needed to be restarted by the ref with 30 seconds left, and at that point, Jorge looked like he might be running out of gas.
The first two rounds were close, and as it turned out, the third round had the fight hanging in the balance. But in that frame, it was Jorge who turned the tide and began landing knees of his own to Wisniewski's midsection, slowing him down.
When it looked like Wisniewski took a low blow from one of the knees, he got a brief break. But when things started back up, Jorge was relentless in working the shots to the body -- and that likely is what won him the fight, putting him over the top with the two judges who had the fight even going to the final round.
"I really felt how strong he was, given I was called in for this fight on short notice and had to fight in a higher weight class," Jorge said. "But apart from his strength, there was nothing extraordinary. I had trained very hard, working on my muay Thai, and I used it a lot."
After a lengthy layoff recovering from injuries, Wisniewski lost his third straight close or competitive fight in his second stint in the UFC. Prior to the fight, he told The Times he believed a loss would probably mean he'd be released by the UFC. While that remains to be seen, three straight losses typically winds up costing UFC fighters their jobs.