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July 30, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: UFC 169’s Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov shoves Abel Trujillo during the weigh in for UFC 160 Friday, May 24, 2013.

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Our Play of the Day unsparingly marches on despite repeated setbacks.

The Play of the Day could use a boost from the biggest sports weekend of the year.

I’m nowhere close to the fictional $10,000 starting bankroll we’ve used to wager on games off of the South Point betting board.

Abel Trujillo plus-125 over Jamie Varner: $200 to win $250

Once upon a time, Jamie Varner deserved to be a favorite over Abel Trujillo. It’s passed.

Varner’s past laurels, namely his stint as the WEC lightweight champion, are the only rational way to explain this line. The relatively unknown Trujillo is the more dangerous, more motivated and, ultimately, more talented fighter at this point.

A member of the Blackzilians camp — a team that’s red-hot by the way — Trujillo has annihilated two of his three opponents in the UFC with TKO victories. His only loss was to the division’s best prospect, undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov, by unanimous decision.

The biggest concern with Trujillo is his cardio as he’s gassed out in fights before. But Varner, who’s 5-6-1 since Trujillo started his career in 2009, has shown the same problem.

It’s a bigger issue for Varner, who will find his most likely path to victory — out-wrestling Trujillo — more difficult to carve out after the first round. Trujillo has above-average takedown defense anyway, and blossoming power.

He’s going to hurt Varner.

Standings: Bern (4-4, $9,590), Brewer (3-4-1, $9,530), Keefer (2-7, $8,017.50)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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