by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The main event for WEC 49 this weekend in Edmonton may not have a title on the line, but it looks like Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus will be battling for a shot at the title. WEC General Manager Reed Harris said on Monday that’s the reason why the two of them were matched up in the headliner for this weekend’s card.
Nothing is ever set in stone, but Varner lost the WEC lightweight title to current champion Ben Henderson earlier this year, and has been gunning for a rematch ever since, and Kamal Shalorus is undefeated in the WEC with some impressive wins of his own.
“Absolutely, that is the reason we put this fight together,” said Harris. “Both of these guys had been at the top of the food chain in the 155lb division for us.”
Harris went on to talk about what Varner has done to get back to the top spot in the division, and that this fight should decide who Ben Henderson will face when he returns to action, most likely later this year in the fall.
“Obviously, Varner lost the fight to Ben Henderson, but in MMA anything can happen, and that’s the kind of fight it was for Jamie. Jamie has told me he’s recommitted to getting that belt back, and obviously Kamal has had a great performance in his fights in the WEC,” Harris stated.
“I think both of these guys are definitely in contention, and winning this fight could put them in that No. 1 spot.”
Varner has made it no secret that he wants another chance to face Henderson, who lost by guillotine choke midway through the third round of their title fight, after likely winning the first two rounds on the judges’ scorecards.
The former WEC champion says there’s still a beef between he and Henderson, and he’s ready to settle that grudge if he can get past Shalorus.
“I really feel like that guy hit the lottery when he got me in that guillotine to be honest with you,” Varner said on Monday. “I’m really looking forward to getting through this fight with Kamal, and no matter what happens I hope I get another shot cause the kid always like to claim that he’s from Arizona, it’s a little bit a territorial thing. He tries to claim that he’s from my home state, and the kid’s from Washington. It’s just funny.”
WEC champion Ben Henderson has faced just about every top contender in the division either before getting the belt, or since winning the title, and had expressed in an interest in facing some new blood in the division. If victorious, Kamal Shalorus would be a brand new opponent he’s never faced before, but if Varner wins he says it’s not up to Henderson to decide who he faces.
As the champion, you fight whoever the promotion decides is the top contender.
“He doesn’t have that decision making power, and I think Shane Roller said it best, and I think Ben knows, it’s a little bit of fear to be honest with you, me and Shane both know, you don’t shoot in on that guy,” said Varner. “You don’t give that guy your neck and you win that fight.”
Both Jamie Varner and Kamal Shalorus will look to solidify their spot as the top contender in the WEC’s 155lb weight class this Sunday night in Edmonton.