(“I call that punch the ‘parlay-wrecker’.”)
When Jamie Varner returned to the UFC last month as an injury replacement against Edson Barboza at UFC 146, virtually nobody gave him a chance. (We called it “the biggest UFC squash-match of the year,” if you want to get specific.) Barboza was the undefeated wheel-kickin’ buzzsaw in the lightweight division, and Varner was just a WEC washout who had lost a decision to Dakota Cochrane the previous year. Varner admitted that Barboza was literally the only guy in the UFC he didn’t want to fight. And yet, he stormed the Brazilian golden boy, knocking him out in one round, and earning another tour of duty in the UFC. The question is, can he do it again?
It was reported yesterday that Terry Etim has withdrawn from his UFC on FOX 4 match with Joe Lauzon — yeah, yeah, that godforsaken UFC injury bug, the world is ending, etc. — and will be replaced by Varner. Inconsistent as of late, Lauzon has gone 3-3 in his last six appearances, most recently getting knocked out by Anthony Pettis in February.
In other words, the dynamic will be totally different for Varner this time. He isn’t the lamb being led to slaughter. He’ll have a tremendous amount of confidence going into the fight, and as long as he can avoid messing around on the mat too much with Lauzon, Varner could take another step toward one of the greatest career comebacks in UFC history. Your predictions, please.
UFC on FOX 4 takes place August 4th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and will feature Mauricio Shogun vs. Brandon Vera, Lyoto Machida vs. Ryan Bader, and Travis Browne vs. Ben Rothwell.