WEC 46 Preview: Varner vs. Henderson

Jamie Varner

Age: 25 (Born Oct 12, 1984)
Nickname: The Worm / C4
Height: 5 ft 8 in
Weight: 155 lbs
Reach: 72 in

Primary Fighting Style: Wrestling
Secondary Fighting Style: Boxing
Fighting Out Of: Phoenix, AZ
Affiliation: Arizona Combat Sports
Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Organizations Fought In: WEC, UFC, RITC, WFF

Fight Odds: Varner -145 (Favorite) – subject to change
Fight Odds Movement: Money coming in primarily on Varner, line opened at Varner -135

Overall Record: 16-2
Types of Wins: 9 submissions, 5 KOs/TKOs, 2 decisions
Types of Losses: 1 submission, 1 decision
Record in Last 5 fights: 5-0
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 5-1
Longest Winning Streak: 10 wins
Longest Losing Streak: 1 loss
Length of Time Since Last Fight: Approx. 1 year
Last Fight: def. Donald Cerrone via Technical Split Decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46) – WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone, January 25, 2009

Notable Wins: Donald Cerrone, Rob McCullough
Notable Losses: Hermes Franca, Jesse Moreng

Significant Injuries: Broken right hand, fractured left foot, and strained retina sustained during his bout with Cerrone
Interesting Trivia: After sustaining injuries in his last fight, was sidelined long enough for the WEC to decide to crown an interim Lightweight champion (Henderson after besting Cerrone). Will fight the interim champion Henderson to unify the titles.

MMA Accomplishments: WEC Lightweight champion
Non-MMA Accomplishments: Collegiate wrestler at Lock Haven University in PA

Strengths: Good wrestler, solid boxing, cardio, tough, well-rounded

Keys to Victory: Styles make fights, and in this fight Varner and Henderson have very similar styles. Both have strong wrestling backgrounds, solid strikes, are tough fighters, and have hard-fought wins over a dangerous Donald Cerrone. It seems that Varner holds a slight edge on the ground due to his underestimated submissions and dominant positioning, while Henderson should have a bit of an advantage standing due to his heavy hands. Henderson’s cardio is world-class and may play into a fight against an opponent who’s been away from the cage for approx one year. Varner’s ring rust may be an issue against his opponent who’s already fought three times in the last 12 months, and because of this, Varner should try to pull the submission as quickly as possible without gassing too quickly.

* Versus *

Ben Henderson

Age: 26 (Born Nov 16, 1983)
Nickname: Smooth
Height: 5 ft 9 in
Weight: 155 lbs (Lightweight)

Primary Fighting Style: Wrestling
Secondary Fighting Style: Boxing
Fighting Out Of: Glendale, AZ
Affiliation: MMA Lab
Weight Class: Lightweight (155 lbs)
Organizations Fought In: WEC, MFC, etc.

Fight Odds: Henderson +115 (Underdog) – subject to change
Fight Odds Movement: Money coming in primarily on Varner, line opened at Henderson +105

Overall Record: 10-1
Types of Wins: 6 submissions, 2 KOs/TKOs, 2 decisions
Types of Losses: 1 KO/TKO
Record in Last 5 fights: 5-0
Record in Major Organizations of MMA: 3-0
Longest Winning Streak: 9 wins
Longest Losing Streak: 1 loss
Length of Time Since Last Fight: Approx. 3 months
Last Fight: def. Donald Cerrone (-350) via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) – WEC 43: Cerrone vs. Henderson, October 10, 2009

Notable Wins: Donald Cerrone, Shane Roller, Anthony Njokuani
Notable Losses: Chad Klingensmith

Significant Injuries: Eye injury (iris) sustained against Donald Cerrone
Interesting Trivia: After his aforementioned fight with Cerrone, went to three different emergency rooms in San Antonio, TX for multiple opinions

MMA Accomplishments: Interim WEC Lightweight champion, WEC Fight of the Night participant
Non-MMA Accomplishments: Two-time NAIA Collegiate All American wrestler at Dana College in Nebraska, Taekwondo black belt, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt

Strengths: Good wrestler, heavy hands, elite-level cardio, tough to submit

Keys to Victory: Styles make fights, and in this fight Varner and Henderson have very similar styles. Both have strong wrestling backgrounds, solid strikes, are tough fighters, and have hard-fought wins over a dangerous Donald Cerrone. It seems that Varner holds a slight edge on the ground due to his underestimated submissions and dominant positioning, while Henderson should have a bit of an advantage standing due to his heavy hands. Henderson’s cardio is world-class and may play into a fight against an opponent who’s been away from the cage for approx one year. Henderson should be patient and attempt to drag the fight into the championship rounds against a potentially rusty Varner, while primarily keeping the fight standing to pull the slight upset.

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