Hard-hitting lightweight Abel Trujillo will be looking to carry over the momentum of a strong performance his last time out when he battles Jamie Varner at UFC 169 this weekend. “Killa” was initially slated to tangle with Bobby Green in New Jersey, but “King” was forced to withdraw. Varner got the call as an injury replacement and will be glad to get back into action after an injury forced him out of last month’s UFC on FOX 9 card in Sacramento.
Trujillo turned in a dominant effort in Sacramento stopping Roger Bowling after delivering a serious beat down. The powerful Trujillo battered Bowling throughout while showcasing his immensely powerful striking game en route to a second-round stoppage. It was a solid bounce back for Trujillo after being smothered by unbeaten Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov in his prior fight at UFC 160. Trujillo was taken down at will in that contest in losing a unanimous decision and will need to be wary of Varner’s wrestling background. Trujillo always comes to battle in terrific shape and is looking to string a pair of victories together inside the Octagon for the first time. He’ll be aiming to add to his collection of finishes, but it won’t be easy against the durable veteran.
Varner will be looking to get back into the win column after dropping a close split decision at UFC 164 against Gleison Tibau. He’s 2-2 in his latest return to the UFC and has been in against top-flight competition dating back to his WEC days. Varner has 18 wins by either knockout or submission in his 21 career victories and has never been knocked out. His best Octagon effort was a first-round stoppage of hot prospect Edson Barboza in a huge upset at UFC 146. While Varner has shown durability during his career he may want may to avoid a stand-up war against Trujillo and look to try and negate his opponent’s potent offense by using his grappling to try and wear him down.
Two competitors looking to make some noise in a talent wealthy lightweight division should be a solid way to kick off this weekend’s main card. Trujillo is looking to show consistency and that he has the potential to develop into a major player in the 155-pound weight class while Varner is looking for a solid bounce-back effort to get his career back on the right path.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports