The featured preliminary bout of the UFC 164 undercard was a lightweight battle between Jamie Varner and Gleison Tibau, and they went the distance. The fight was close, with Tibau dominating the second round and Varner dominating the third. The scores came down to the close first, and the judges leaned towards the Brazilian fighter. The scores were 29-28, 27-29, and 29-28.
Varner got off to a good start with some kicks and a couple of nice combos. He was circling a lot as well. Tibau landed a couple of right hooks, but both men weren't throwing a whole lot. Tibau used his power to get a takedown. Tibau moved Varner over the the fence and he got up, but Tibau stayed glued to his back until the horn.
After a timid start to round two, Varner threw as flying knee and went to the ground with a guillotine attempt. Tibau slipped out easily though and went to work on top. Tibau jumped to full mount and Varner rolled over, then rolled back when Tibau went for a choke. Varner was flipping back and forth and holding while not absorbing a ton of damage. Tibau showed excellent control to stay on top, but Varner survived the round.
Varner came out strong in the third and connected with a big right. Varner telegraphed a strike and got taken down for a second, but popped back up. Varner scored with a bunch of body shots. He was shaking out his hand after each punch though. Varner scored a takedown with two minutes to go and landed a bunch of punches and elbows on the ground. Varner tried his best but couldn't get a finish before the horn.