Jamie Varner was a late-replacement to the UFC 146: Dos Santos vs. Mir lineup, but he made one of the biggest impacts. Varner, a former WEC champion, returned to the Octagon and stunned Edson Barboza with a series of powerful shots, earning a TKO victory in the first round.
Varner rocked Barboza early, and finished him off with a series of fists to the ground. After being released from Zuffa, Varner fought for several other promotions, but gladly returned to the UFC as a replacement for Evan Dunham.
“I just want to thank the UFC for bringing me back,” Varner said. “When you hit rock bottom, you appreciate places you’ve been. Barboza was tough – scary good – but I just wanted to come out here and put on a good performance, fight for the fans.”
Barboza (10-1) was coming off a spinning head-kick victory over Terry Etim from earlier this year that had many thinking a title run was in his future. Instead, it will be back to the drawing board for the Brazilian.
Varner added that, “I can’t believe it’s me,” while watching the replay of the fight. He said, “I just did that. I just beat Edson Barboza, who was this monster in my mind.”