Fight of the Week: Benson Henderson vs. Jamie Varner at WEC 46
Before Benson “Smooth” Henderson was the UFC Lightweight champion, there was a time when he was fighting Jamie Varner to unify the WEC Lightweight championship.
Henderson became the WEC Interim Lightweight champion in 2009 after defeating Donald Cerrone at WEC 43 in what was one of the most acclaimed fights of that year.
Varner, who was the current champion at the time, had been unable to compete after his fight with Cerrone that ended on a technical decision in the fifth round, after Varner had been hit with an illegal knee and unable to compete.
Henderson and Varner met at WEC 46 on Jan. 10 2010.
With the crowd booing him, Varner starts the fight by throwing a few shots before taking Henderson to the mat. Varner continues to control Henderson on the mat. He throws a couple of knees while trying to get Henderson into a guillotine choke.
After referee Herb Dean stands them up, Varner moves forward as Henderson throws a quick combination.
As Varner moves back, Henderson moves forward, only for Varner to move behind him. The two stand back up and exchange knees while tied in a clinch. Both fighters embrace after the sound of the buzzer.
Henderson begins the round-two with knee followed by a head kick. As Varner continues to move forward and throw strikes, Henderson reacts by moving backwards and throwing jabs of his own.
Henderson takes a chance and moves forward and throws two quick jabs and a body kick. He throws a sidekick, only for Varner to catch it and toss him to the mat.
Varner manages to stuff a takedown attempt from the interim champion and pushes him up against the cage.
Just like in round one, the second round ends with both fighters escaping a clinch and moving towards the center of the cage.
Varner begins the third-round by charging forward and pushing Henderson up against the cage. He throws a one-two combination before stepping back.
Halfway into the round, Varner shoots for a takedown, only for Henderson to stop it and jump into a guillotine choke, which forces Varner to tap within seconds.
Henderson is awarded the WEC Lightweight title and would hold it until his fight with Antony Pettis.
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