Jamie Varner shed the prohibitive underdog tag in a hurry at UFC 146 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, as the former WEC lightweight champion stunned the previously unbeaten Edson Barboza by first-round technical knockout.
Varner’s upset caught the masses by surprise, as a staggering 92 percent of players in the Sherdog MMA Pick’Em fantasy game picked the highly touted Barboza to emerge victorious from their preliminary lightweight encounter.
The 27-year-old Varner accepted the bout on short notice, replacing the injured Evan Dunham, and capitalized on the opportunity. He absorbed some wicked leg kicks but punched his way into the clinch and rattled Barboza with his fists. With the lightweight prospect in retreat, Varner zapped him with a straight right hand, followed his fallen opponent to the mat and finished it with punches and hammerfists to which the Brazilian could not respond.
The remainder of the UFC 146 card played largely to expectations, as the majority of pickers were on the money with Junior dos Santos-Frank Mir (83 percent for dos Santos), Cain Velasquez-Antonio Silva (91 percent for Velasquez), Roy Nelson-Dave Herman (85 percent for Nelson), Mike Thomas Brown-Daniel Pineda (83 percent for Brown), Dan Hardy-Duane Ludwig (64 percent for Hardy) and Glover Teixeira-Kyle Kingsbury (72 percent for Teixeira). There were exceptions to the rule, of course, as users missed the mark on Shane del Rosario-Stipe Miocic (52 percent for del Rosario), Jason Miller-C.B. Dollaway (83 percent for Miller), Diego Brandao-Darren Elkins (88 percent for Brandao) and Jacob Volkmann-Paul Sass (72 percent for Volkmann).
Within Sherdog MMA Pick’Em, players earn points based on correct match-by-match predictions for a given event. A maximum of 210 points can be picked up in a single match.
Players are awarded 50 points for each correct pick, along with 30 additional points if they choose the correct method: decision, knockout/technical knockout or submission. If the method involves a finish, 30 additional points will be awarded to players who choose the correct round in which the finish occurs. Players are also allowed five boosts per event through which they can notch an additional 100 points for outcomes about which they feel particularly certain. However, any incorrect selections involving boosts will cost the player 50 points.
“Toolbox86” currently leads the Sherdog MMA Pick’Em standings with 7,060 points, having picked 56 of his 89 bouts correctly, with a 72.1 percent success rate on his boosts. The frontrunner was successful on seven of his 12 picks for UFC 146: dos Santos, Velasquez, Nelson, Miocic, Hardy, Teixeira and Brown.