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WEC 46 Preview: Jamie Varner Vs. Ben Henderson Analysis

Jamie Varner became the WEC light weight champion by defeating Rob McCullough at WEC 32 and has since defended the title twice. The last defense a controversial split decision win over Donald Cerrone at WEC 38 where Varner wasn't able to continue once Cerrone landed an illegal knee in the fifth round.  Varner has been out of action since, suffering a broken hand and an eye injury in that fight.  He brings an overall record of (16-2-2NC) with 9 wins via submission and 2 via KO/TKO.  He's a well rounded fighter with solid boxing and he's well versed on the ground.  Varner hasn't lost since being submitted by the recently retired Hermes Franca all the way back at UFC 62.

SBN coverage of WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson

Ben Henderson became the interim WEC lightweight champion after defeating Donald Cerrone at WEC 43.  Ben Henderson comes into the fight with an overall record of (10-1) with 6 wins via submission and 2 wins via KO/TKO.  In fact, Henderson has won his last 9 fights in a row and has finished 7 of those opponents.  He was able to withstand the submission game of Donald Cerrone after being caught in several disadvantaged positions throughout that fight.  Henderson was a NAIA college All-American twice in the sport of wrestling and of course has very good submission defense.

I think Varner will look to try to keep this fight standing to try use his boxing advantage to damage Henderson, while Henderson will be looking to take this fight to the ground as he did against Cerrone.  Varner is well versed on the ground, but he's not quite as long as Cerrone which should be a benefit to Henderson.  I also think the long layoff will affect Varner in a negative fashion.  It will be close to a year since he last fought when he steps into the cage later tonight, especially his cardio as he won't be used to the pace that Henderson fights at.  If Varner can catch Henderson while the fights standing, it's possible that he could put Henderson away.  Otherwise, I see Henderson taking this one via unanimous decision with his cardio and wrestling ability.