Jamie Varner has been backed into a corner. He lost his last fight against WEC lightweight champ Ben Henderson and now has to fight his way back into the promotion's triple-headed monster (along with Donald Cerrone) at the top of the class. He faces a relative unknown in Kamal Shalorus. That's bad news if the Iranian decides to grind the match to a halt. Shalorus (6-0) is a former Olympic wrestler who has blown through his first two opponents in the WEC. It wouldn't be shocking to see him control the pace and win the fight, but it would certainly be a blow to Varner's reputation. Varner and Shalorus headline WEC 49 Sunday night in Edmonton.
Varner (16-3, 4-1 WEC, 1-1 UFC) compared the gap between college wrestler and an Olympian in an interview with ULTMMA.com.
"He's not just a strong wrestler, he's a world class wrestler," said Varner. "It's like saying a college wrestler is the JV team and a world-class wrestler is like the NBA all-star team."
Sounds like Varner is going to rely on his boxing. On the flip side, Shalorus told WEC PR person Dave Sholler that he has to stay under control on the feet. He called it his caveman style when he swings wildly with big overhand rights and lefts.
Shalorus is an interesting character. He's Iranian born but wrestled for Great Britian in 2004. How old is he? That's a point of contention. From World Extreme Cagefighting:
"The Government of Iran says I’m 37, but I’m not," says the former Olympic wrestler, who estimates his actual age is closer to 29. "Maybe I was born in 1978, maybe 1979, maybe 1975. I don’t know. I said, ‘Mom, what happened?’ She said, ‘Oh yeah, we had another son before you and he passed away. We could not go to city (to the hospital) because we had no money and it was snowing, so we just gave his birth certificate to you' … It’s very common where I come from."
WEC 49 weigh-in (Courtesy MMA Junkie):
Televised card (Versus 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)
Kamal Shalorus (155) vs. Jamie Varner (156)
Mark Hominick (144.5) vs. Yves Jabouin (145)
L.C. Davis (146) vs. Josh Grispi (145)
Danny Downes (156) vs. Chris Horodecki (154)
Will Campuzano (136) vs. Eddie Wineland (135.5)
Karen Darabedyan (155.6) vs. Will Kerr (155)
Wagnney Fabiano (135.5) vs. Frank Gomez (135.5)
Bendy Casimir (145.5) vs. Erik Koch (145.5)
Rafael Assuncao (144.5) vs. Diego Nunes (144)
Chris Cariaso (135) vs. Rafael Rebello (135)
Renan Barao (141.5) vs. Anthony Leone (142)