“WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson” takes place Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010, at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Headlining the card is a lightweight title unification bout between champion Jamie Varner and interim champ Benson Henderson.
The card will also feature the return of “Sactown’s” own Urijah Faber taking on Raphael Assuncao, former champ Mike Thomas Brown takes on Anthony Morrison, Dave Jansen takes on Kamal Shalorus, and Mackens Sermezier battles Deividas Taurosevicius to round out the main card.
ProMMA.info‘s best MMA minds have come together to bring you our predictions for WEC 46. Each of us will tell you who we think will win and why. This is very important stuff because we are keeping score, and at the end of the year we will award the staff member with the highest correct percentage with a six pack of beer and a pizza, and the person with the worst record will be made fun of indefinitely. So, the stakes are high. The fights are tough, and here we go…
Jamie Varner (16-2) vs. Benson Henderson (10-1)
BRIAN FURBY: This is Varner’s time to shine. As he said on a recent episode of The Cageside Beat, he is just a better fighter than Henderson. Henderson will make it a good match for sure, and I think Varner’s ring rust will play a role in the fight and prevent Varner from finishing it early, but Varner will dominate a five round decision to unify the titles and remain the WEC Lightweight Champ, and within a few months, I think we’ll see him in the UFC competing with some of the top guys the division has to offer. Jamie Varner by unanimous decision.
DUSTY ADAMS: I like Henderson in this matchup. I think he will be relentless with takedowns and even though Varner has a wrestling background Henderson seems to be better. I think Henderson is quicker too which will frustrate Varner. Henderson by unanimous decision.
RICHARD MANN: If someone was to ask me, “who is the better fighter?” I would answer Jamie Varner. However, he had terrible cardio before his year long layoff due to injury. Henderson will get worked over in the early rounds, but later in the fight he will get top position and pull out the decision. Henderson by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: I’m going with Varner. Both guys are coming off wins over The “Cowboy”, and both guys are very good. I have no real “technical” reason why I think Varner will win, just a feeling. He seems to be kind of pissed off right now and I think wants to make a statement. I know he dislikes the “Urijah Faber show” that’s going on, and what better way to get back at the organization than to win the main event?
DENNY HODGE: Everybody knows who Ben Henderson is now after his fight of the year caliber performance against Donald Cerrone. Varner has been away for almost a year and will need to shake off his ring rust pretty quickly against the quick starting Henderson. Henderson is 3-0 in the WEC and none of the guys he’s beat have been easy fights, but I see his streak ending with Varner landing a big shot and KO’ing “Smooth” in Round 2.
Urijah Faber (22-3) vs. Raphael Assuncao (14-1)
BRIAN FURBY: This is my call for Fight of the Night. Assuncao is constantly underestimated, Faber is on the comeback trail, and both men are looking for a win in this fight to get them a shot at Jose Aldo. Assuncao’s size will play a factor, but Faber’s speed and agility should help him overcome Assuncao either late in the second round or early in the third. Faber by TKO in the second.
DUSTY ADAMS: I think Faber will be explosive in this fight and overwhelm Assuncao. I don’t think him being out with from the hand surgery will bother him at all. Faber by TKO 2nd round.
RICHARD MANN: Plenty of people are selling Raphael Assuncao short. He is a quality prospect, and by far the best of the three Assuncao brothers. However, in this fight he is going to have trouble. On the feet he throws wild haymakers. He is good on the ground, but he lacks proper takedowns. Faber will throw his normal assortment of crazy strikes avoid submissions and win. Faber by decision.
JACK BRATCHER: Do you realize it’s been nearly three years since Urijah Faber has defeated anyone of significance? Sorry Jens. Of course, that is mainly because he has only faced two opponents during that time; both of them twice. Faber – WEC’s poster boy – needs this win so badly… Hell, I’m going to give it to him. Something in me wants to pick Assuncao, but I’m going to go with Faber, just cause he’s the sunshine boy (where is “Sunshine”? I think Faber is more well rounded, will be able to stay out of submissions and probably win a decision.
DENNY HODGE: Assuncao is 14-1 with his only loss coming to the “Big Frog” Jeff Curran, but he will be facing a re-energized and healthy “California Kid”. This one will go the distance, with Faber controlling the pace en route to a decision victory over the scrappy Assuncao.
Mike Thomas Brown (22-5) vs. Anthony Morrison (15-7)
BRIAN FURBY: Mike Brown is playing his usual role of a respectful, tough fighter, encouraging people to not underestimate Morrison’s skills, and this is a big opportunity for Morrison to make his name, but it won’t happen. The desire to get the title back has to be burning Brown up inside and he’ll take that out on Morrison. Mike Brown by TKO in the first.
DUSTY ADAMS: Brown is much better all around fghter and I just don’t think Morrison will be a problem at all. Brown will win by Sub and put himself back in title contention.
RICHARD MANN: Anthony Morrison was only signed because he has a history with Mike Brown. Expect Brown to score an early takedown and unleash some vicious strikes from the top. Brown by TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: Five of Morrison’s seven losses have come by submission, and nine of his 15 wins have come by knockout. Morrison could catch Brown with a big punch but it’s unlikely. According to the betting odds, this is the biggest mismatch on the card at: Mike Brown -850 vs. Anthony Morrison +525. I’m going to agree with the odds-makers. I see Brown winning this one probably via submission in round one.
DENNY HODGE: Anthony Morrison will have an advantage on the feet as he looks to use his boxing against Mike Brown. Unfortunately for Morrison, Brown won’t just stand in front of him and bang. Mike Brown is coming in hungry, and will be ready to make an example of Morrison, and will put him on his back early and often. I see Brown GNP-ing his way to victory in Round 2 of this one.
Dave Jansen (14-0) vs. Kamal Shalorus (5-0)
BRIAN FURBY: Jansen’s wrestling skills are likely enough to help him outlast Shalorus, but the issue is whether or not Shalorus will be able to impose his power before Jansen scores enough takedowns to win the fight. However, I think Shalorus will be able to let his hands loose and take Jansen out before the wrestling becomes a factor. Shalorus by TKO in the first.
DUSTY ADAMS: I haven’t seen either fight but I guess I’ll take “the Fugitive” over “The Prince of Persia” just because he has more experience and has beaten better guys.
RICHARD MANN: It is always good when I get to flex my extensive and pointless wrestling knowledge. Despite being born in Iran, Kamal Shalorus represented Great Britain in the 2004 Olympic games. This is bad news for Dave Jansen. Normally Jansen succeeds by making his fights wrestling matches. In this fight Shalorus will have the advantage there. Expect Shalorus to pull off a mild upset of sorts. Shalorus by TKO.
JACK BRATCHER: Someone’s O has got to go and Jansen has the bigger O but I don’t think this will be his fight to lose – he’s gonna say NO! I don’t think he’ll finish Shalorus, but I think he can pull of the decision.
DENNY HODGE: Jansen has won most of his fights on the ground, and Shalorus has 4 ko’s in his 5 wins. Shalorus will have a significant advantage on the feet, but Jansen will have little or no trouble taking him down and subbing him late in the first round.