In the third round of an extremely close fight, Jamie Varner attempted -- and was successful on -- a takedown on Joe Lauzon during their lightweight bout at UFC on Fox 4: "Shogun vs. Vera" last night (Aug. 4, 2012) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
It turned out to be his undoing.
That's because "J-Lau," a submission wizard, rolled through and transitioned his way to a triangle. Once he had it locked in, Varner had no choice but to tap. The blow of the loss was cushioned by a $50,000 "Fight of the Night" bonus but questions lingered regarding the strategic necessity of utilizing his wrestling in a spot like that.
Specifically, it looked like the former WEC champion was trying to steal some points on his way to the judges scorecards. It turns out, however, that wasn't the case.
Indeed, Varner revealed to FUEL TV (via MMA Weekly) after the event that he broke his hand in the second round, leading to a late change in tactics that ultimately cost him the fight.
"Looks like I broke my fourth metacarpal, just broke it. You can see the knuckle's gone. One of my right hands I landed, it was gone, it hurt pretty bad. In the second round, I slipped his jab came over with the overhand right and I hit the top of his head, and I felt it right away. I told my corner after the second round ‘Hey, my hand's broken.' They were like ‘Alright, we're going to have to take him down then.' The takedowns worked well until I got reversed into the triangle."
The loss, though emotionally taxing, likely won't hurt his career in the slightest. Sure, it's a mark in the L column that won't go away but his stepping up on short notice as a favor to the UFC -- the second time he's done so in the last three months -- won't be quickly forgotten.
And, again, this was a "Fight of the Year" contender. It was that damn good and there's no substitute for stellar performances on major fight cards on FOX when Dana White is expecting his fighters to come through big.
What's next? Recovery, of course, but there's no doubt that Varner, once a castoff with little hope of a return to prominence, has revitalized his fighting career.
To watch highlights from the Lauzon vs. Varner clash click here and for a more detailed breakdown of the bout click here. Complete UFC on Fox 4 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action can be found here and here.