UFC 169: Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo preview and the prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Lightweights Jamie Varner and Abel Trujillo open up the UFC 169 main card in what promises to be a war at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Jamie Varner (21-8-2 NC) vs. Abel Trujillo (11-5-1 NC) Lightweight

When we last left our heroes...Varner has the unique distinction of having a career defined less by losses and wins, and more by his post-fight speeches, despite not being the kind of guy who wants to talk publicly about gay marriage, or Obamacare.

After winning the WEC Lightweight belt, and he'd go on a 4 fight winless streak in 2010. He'll probably never live down his "I came to fight, Ben came to grapple" moment at WEC 46, but I don't think fans care much anymore. He's a quality LW who seems better than his current run indicates (the Gleison Tibau and Joe Lauzon fights were winnable in my opinion).

Trujillo is 2-1-1 in the UFC, advancing his career off Roger Bowling, who some fighters are contractually obligated to fight him more than once apparently.

Both fights were impressive wins for Trujillo, but it will do little to prepare the Blackzillian product for Varner's more experienced, polished, and superior game.

What both men can do: If there's one thing Varner does better than any other fighter in MMA, it's slam haymakers to an opponent's body. The punches he landed on Joe Lauzon were as brilliant as they were brutal. It's the type of thing you wish Varner were capable of in every fight, but more on that in a minute.

Jamie's boxing is the best part of his game, which says a lot for someone who started out as a wrestler. He's one of the few wrestle-boxers who could ditch wrestling entirely and exist as a striking specialist. I'm not saying it would be wise, or make him more effective; just that he can bang (bro).

Trujillo is a solid fighter who I continue to underestimate. He has a quick release on his punches, but prefers the knee as his go to strike. It got the best of him against Bowling the first time. While he didn't actually hit Bowling in the head (I thought it was obviously illegal until you see it from this angle), the intent was clear. Trujillo was looking to eviscerate Bowling with that knee.

What both men can't do: The problem for Trujillo in this bout is that Varner has the capacity to put him on his back; I'd argue from two ways...with strikes, or with wrestling.

Trujillo likes to throw knees in close, even though he has quick reflexes, and can score in the middle of the cage. But the closer he gets to Varner the more susceptible he is to the takedown. Bowling was able to scoop him up with ease. While Trujillo can scramble well, I'd argue that Jamie's top position is much more polished.

Varner isn't the same fighter who literally ran away in the cage against Hermes Franca.

In addition, Varner has slowly developed a willingness to grapple, despite any insecurities he may have once had about the "nature" of grappling itself. He's not afraid to pass guard, and use strikes to open up an opponent's guard in order to pass.

I feel like this bout is solidly Varner's. Abel still fights with a recklessness that will cost him against the upper echelon at 155.

X-Factor: I feel like Varner is due for one of those bizarre no contests. Maybe Abel kicks him in the groin, but Varner inexplicably breaks his clavicle on the way down. Or Varner slips on a Condom Depot decal, and is hit in the face with a kick that catches him while his knees touch the octagon floor. These are exactly the kind of scenario's that sound plausible in Jamie's world.

In-Fight Soundtrack: For some reason I have this image of Varner as Johnny Cage, Trujillo as Scorpion, and I'm in the theatre as a wee lad watching one of my favorite video games on the cinematic big screen (this is probably the third time I've posted this clip, but I honestly don't care). So obviously, Zero Signal is all I hear...

Predictions: Jamie Varner by guillotine, round 2.

*This is not an invitation for you, the BE reader, to carry that torch. You guys (and gals) are intelligent people, but stick to what you excel at:;like movies, food, shoops, and bad puns.

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