Ben Henderson’s ascent to the top of the WEC lightweight division culminated on Sunday night with a victory over lightweight champion Jamie Varner. Henderson, who defeated Donald Cerrone late last year to capture the interim lightweight title and dash any hopes of a Varner/Cerrone rematch, scored a third round submission victory when he caught Varner in a lightning-quick guillotine.
Varner, one of the most unpopular fighters on the WEC roster, may have cemented his role as the WEC’s top heel during his post-fight interview. “You can boo me if want,” said Varner. “I came to fight, and Ben Henderson came to grapple.”
Varner used effective wrestling to control much of the first two rounds, but a costly mistake while attempting a takedown allowed Henderson to secure the fight-ending guillotine. Varner immediately tapped.
In the co-main event of the evening, popular former champion Urijah Faber looked impressive in dominating Raphael Assuncao on the way to a rear naked choke submission, much to the delight of the decidedly pro-Faber Sacramento crowd. Faber, who lost twice to former champion Mike Thomas Brown, will be matched up with current champion Jose Aldo later this year.
MAIN CARD RESULTS
Deividas Taurosevicius d. Mackens Semerzier by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Brown d. Anthony Morrison via submission (rear naked choke) – Round one, 1:54
Kamal Shalorus d. Dave Jansen by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Urijah Faber d. Raphael Assuncao by submission (rear naked choke) – Round three
Ben Henderson d. Jamie Varner by submission (guillotine) – Round three, 2:41
PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS
Will Campuzano d. Coty Wheeler via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Eddie Wineland d. George Roop via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mark Hominick d. Bryan Caraway via submission (armbar) – Round one, 3:48
Waggney Fabiano d. Clint Godfrey via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Charlie Valencia d. Akitoshi Tamura via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)