Saturday’s UFC 146 card was everything a fight fan could ever ask for and more, and most of the fights went so fast you couldn’t even leave your seat before another fight started. While the all heavyweight main card is getting most of the attention, let’s take a second to look at an underdog story gone horribly right.
Jamie Varner received a call to fight previously unbeaten Edson Barboza on short notice just a few weeks ago most likely as the only option for the UFC to make besides scrapping the fight. Jamie was a +325 betting underdog with many expecting him to be another epic highlight reel finish for Barboza. Things didn’t work out as planned for Barboza and an opportunity of greatness captured in what many fans are still tweeting about today.
Varner seemed to have a good game plan and his months spent at the MMA Lab with the lightweight champion and AMA with the Miller brothers seems to be paying off. Varner started slow eating five leg kicks before catching one and rushing a takedown into side control. When Varner wound up to deliver some nasty ground and pound Barboza bucked out and quickly stood.
Barboza then went right back to a leg kick clinic but this time Jamie was ready and hit him with a nice body shot and two over hand rights. A stunned Barboza jumped on his bike until hitting the fence where he was immediately power slammed by Varner. Barboza once again bucked up but this time Varner adjusted and threw a huge punch to the ear. Hurt and again back peddling, Jamie sprinted in with another loaded punch that sent Barboza’s eyes rolling. Immediately once Barboza hit the canvas, Varner posted on the fence and finished him off with some ground and pound.
When interviewed Varner said he appreciated the call from the UFC and that win or lose he wanted to do his best for the fans. Shocking upset or not, his give it all for glory approach to the fight made him many fans and a new interest in the once dominant WEC champion. The most memorable quote from the fight was Varner looking back by saying “Once you hit rock bottom you appreciate the places you’ve been, so I just want to thank the UFC for another chance,”
We can only assume the UFC will let Varner prove himself again and there are plenty of great fights to square him off with in the near future. Joe Lauzon or Matt Wiman would make great exciting matches for the UFC and will be a great addition to any card. Either way it’s good to see Varner on the right track and stunning the fans with a huge upset win to say “I’m Back” UFC.