Varner! Henderson! Faber! Brown! Championships! Meaningful fights! Stars aplenty! It's WEC 46 in Sac-Town, CA, Sunday night and this is the official Five Bullet Point Preview. Exclamation points!!!
Undisputed Lightweight Championship: Jamie Varner vs. Ben Henderson
- It's amazing how disliked Varner became after his memorable fight with Donald Cerrone when he couldn't continue after an illegal knee to the head. Like Rashad Evans, there's just something about Varner that drives people nuts. Sunday will be his first fight since that controversial win one year ago as he was mighty banged up afterward.
- Even after a year, Varner remains the WEC Lightweight Champion, while Henderson won the interim version by defeating Cerrone in an October 2009 classic. This will be Hendu's first fight since that victory.
- Varner's inactivity could play a huge role as we've seen recently how other fighters have responded after long layoffs (Tito Ortiz and Joe Lauzon immediately come to mind). Even with training, it's a lot different on fight night and Varner will have to overcome that. He's successfully defended his title twice and has won five straight.
- On the flip side, this will be the fourth fight for Henderson in the last 12 months. He goes into Saturday on a nine-fight win streak and has only lost once in a 10-1 career.
- Henderson favors the submission (60% win percentage), while Varner also has submission skills (nine career taps) but has won three of his last four by TKO.
Urijah Faber vs. Raphael Assuncao
- The aura around Faber certainly doesn't feel like that of a guy who has lost two of his last three with those defeats coming in Featherweight title fights, does it?
Another title shot could be in the mix with a big win here as he still remains the organization's biggest star.
- The California Kid was last seen losing a unanimous decision to champion Mike Brown in their June rematch. In that fight, Faber broke one hand and dislocated another so it will be interesting to see they become problematic Sunday and if this becomes an issue.
- While Assuncao (pronounced Ah-sun-sow) has been promoted as an afterthought, he is no joke with a 13-1 record and a six-fight win streak.
- With a combined four losses, there isn't much to look at in the way of trends. Faber has two defeats by TKO and one decision loss, while Assunaco was defeated by Jeff Curran by decision in November 2006.
- Faber favors submissions (50% win percentage and four of his last five), while Assuncao also prefers to win by tapout (57%) but has decisions in three of his last five.
Dave Jansen vs. Kamal Shalorus
- The 30-year-old Jansen has yet to taste defeat in a three-year pro career, taking a 14-0 mark into Sunday.
- The 33-year-old Shalorus made his WEC debut in November with an impressive 1st round TKO win over Will Kerr. He is also undefeated at 5-0-1.
- Jansen also debuted in the fall for WEC, decisioning Richard Crunkilton in October at WEC 43.
- While Jansen has a 50% win percentage by submission, he has decision wins in three of his last four.
- Shalorus comes from a wrestling background but has shown a propensity to win standing up as four of his wins have come via TKO.
Mike Brown vs. Anthony Morrison
- Brown had a great 2009 going with successful defenses of the WEC Featherweight title against Leonard Garcia and Urijah Faber...and then Jose Aldo happened in November. Ouch.
- Give Brown credit as he wanted back in action quickly after the overwhelming 2nd round defeat to Aldo that left him without a title. Two months later, he gets Morrison.
- The 25-year-old Morrison will make his WEC debut Sunday night against the former champ, not exactly an easy task. Morrison fights mainly on the East Coast and has a 15-7 mark.
- Before the Aldo loss, Brown was on a ten-fight win streak. 18 of his 22 wins have come via submission or decision.
- Morrison had a busy 2009 with six fights and went 4-2. He last defeated Alvin Robinson via 1st round submission (punches) in December but is mostly a decision fighter when he wins.
Five Random Bullets
- Former IFL Featherweight Champion Wagnney Fabiano continues to look for consistency in his fourth WEC fight (3-1) as he battles Clint Godfrey, a late injury replacement for Frank Gomez.
- Submission expert Mackens Semerzier looks to stay undefeated at 5-0 as he takes on Affliction castoff and equal submission artist Deividas Taurosevicius. Semerzier is coming off a huge upset win over Fabiano.
- Another Affliction castoff and UFC-experienced Mark Hominick takes on Bryan Caraway in non-televised action. Hominick has fought in the WEC as recently as February 2008.
- George Roop makes his return to Zuffa after a 1-2 mark in the UFC following a run on the eight season of TUF. He will go up against Eddie Vineland.
- There are 10 fights in total and the action is set for the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, CA. At last check, tickets are still available and as close as the 10th row on the floor. The show begins at 9 pm EST on Versus.
Josh Nason has published MMA, wrestling and boxing blog Ropes, Ring and Cage.com since 2007. He is a contributor to FIGHT! Magazine and appears regularly on Fight Network Radio. Follow him on Twitter.