(In Iran, a brutal kick to the balls is actually a gesture of respect. Photo courtesy of CageWriter)
It was supposed to determine the next challenger to Ben Henderson‘s lightweight title, but the main event of last night’s WEC 49 event at the Rexall Place in Edmonton only proved that 1) Jamie Varner is a magnet for illegal techniques, and 2) You don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, particularly when Sensei Cecil is on the scoring table.
Varner (16-3-1) had the edge early in his three-rounder against Iranian-born wrestling specialist Kamal Shalorus (6-0-2), using his far more technical striking attack to land punches from the outside, and clearly rocked Shalrous at one point. Instead of relying on his grappling, the Prince of Persia stood in the pocket, and focused on attacking Varner’s lead leg with heavy kicks. Despite getting the worst of the exchanges, Shalrous was happy to brawl with the former lightweight champ. Things got ugly in the second round when two of Shalrous’s low-kicks made contact with Varner’s cup. The second occurrence spurred referee Josh Rosenthal to deduct a point. After taking an extended break to collect himself, Varner continued to outstrike Shalorus, wobbling him again with a head kick and right straight. The kicks to the legs and balls were slowing Varner down, but he still seemed to be in control of the fight.
The final round opened with Shalorus landing another point-blank kick to Varner’s nuts, putting the Worm down again. Rosenthal decided that one point deduction in the fight was enough, and decided not to take another one from Shalorus, despite Varner’s protests. When the action was restarted, Shalorus managed to score a takedown after catching a kick from Varner, and worked some strikes from the top for the majority of the round. Varner escaped to his feet in the final minute, and kept his distance as the match came to a close. The scores were a surprise, to say the least. Nelson Hamilton seemed to get it right with his 29-27 tally for Varner, but local yokel Cameron Quwek had it 29-27 for Shalorus, meaning he gave all three rounds to the Iranian, minus the point deduction. Ridiculous. Putting the anti-climactic cherry on top, Cecil Peoples cast the final vote — a 28-28, making the match a split draw. Varner stormed off in disgust, and is probably icing his balls as we speak.