Varner has Guillard back down on the ground inside the first minute, hunched against the base of the fence. Varner goes for a choke, but loses it as he leans back and allows Guillard to set up in top position. Varner overtakes him and works to take Guillard’s back, sinking in one hook before Guillard clambers back to his feet with 2:00 left on the clock. Ten seconds later, it’s another easy double-leg for Varner, who gets busy right away throwing short punches through guard. Guillard swings his hips and tries an armbar, can’t finish but gets top position anyway. Varner hits the switch and he’s back on top with a minute left in the fight, grinding in Guillard’s open guard. Guillard kicks him away with 30 seconds left and stands. Guillard catches Varner coming in with a knee to the body; Varner goes underneath and drops Guillard on his head just before the final horn. The lightweights embrace and tumble on the ground after the wild finish.
Official result: Jamie Varner def. Melvin Guillard via Split Decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27) R3 5:00. TERRIBLE DECISION!!!
Byron Bloodworth vs. Erik Perez
Perez comes straight in with a right hand and then proceeds to rough Bloodworth up with rugged knees and elbows in the clinch. Perez goes to the body as Bloodworth looks to throw an arm over top of Perez’s head. A knee to the body wilts Bloodworth and Perez follows him to the floor. Closed, tight guard for Bloodworth but Perez is nonetheless able to sit up and drop some solid ground-and-pound. Bloodworth’s guard opens up more and more as Perez keeps the punches and elbows coming. Perez has him trapped against the fence, sits up and shucks the legs to blast away with unfettered right hands. Now bloodied, Bloodworth covers up under fire and ref Kim Winslow steps in to wave it off.
Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland
Pickett gets in with a left hand over the top but Wineland answers with a strong right hook and another behind it. Wineland is upright, trying to pick off Pickett. A corking right hand from Wineland buckles Pickett’s legs, and another hard punch follows. Pickett manages to stay upright, but with 2:00 to go in the round, another right hook buckles him. Again, Pickett pops back up. The Englishman is coming forward, throwing punches, but still taking right hands from the taller man as he walks in. Wineland’s punches are taking the shorter route while Pickett tries to loop around the outside, and that’s how the first frame finishes.
Pickett ducks low and then comes over the top with a right hand. Wineland is quick to circle out and resume his diet of long punches, including a few more good straight rights down the center. A few slow inside leg kicks from Pickett as “One-Punch” tries to navigate inside. Wineland just keeping his punches long, even without a lot of steam behind them, keeping Pickett at bay. The bantamweights stand in the pocket momentarily and both connect with right hands. Wineland starts sticking and moving again, changing angles and stepping around the outside. Pickett gets a left hand through and it’s enough to open a cut on the outside of Wineland’s right eye. As he heads back to his corner, Wineland is sporting another cut on the bridge of his nose.
They pick up where they left off, with Pickett moving forward and Wineland cutting angles, sniping at the Brit from the outside. Pickett manages a solid left hook and musters a couple solid leg kicks. Wineland responds by sticking his left hand in Pickett’s face repeatedly, then swipes a long right across. Wineland catches a kick and socks Pickett with a straight right. Pickett turns away a shot from Wineland and slugs him with a short right hand. Pickett keeps marching forward but just can’t get inside on Wineland, who circles out almost as soon as Pickett wades into striking range. Wineland closes out the fight appropriately by backing up, pawing his jab and then coming off the cage to hit Pickett with a quick three-piece combo.
Official result: Eddie Wineland def. Brad Pickett via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27) R3 5:00
Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson