Andy Varela just put his absolute title on the line at High Rollerz 24 on February 16th, 2023, against MMA veteran Ian Butler. Varela has been the champion for quite a few months now and he’s an excellent competitor under any ruleset, but he was defending the belt against a very tough opponent in the form of Bellator and PFL fighter Ian Butler. Shortly before this superb main event match there was also an eight-man tournament in the 175lbs division, and several superfights between promising talents.
After a few of those superfights delivered entertaining results for the fans, it was time for the eight-man 175lbs tournament. There was tough opponents on both sides of the bracket, including veteran competitors like Derek Rayfield and Nick Ortiz. In the end it was Nick Ortiz who emerged victorious after he defeated three straight opponents on the night, including Chris Villata in a difficult final match. Before the title-fight there was one more superfight, with Blake Troop defeating Joseph Goodman in a battle between two very physically imposing heavyweights.
That’s when it was time for the main event of High Rollerz 24 and Andy Varela took to the cage to stand opposite Ian Butler, an experienced MMA competitor who has previously fought for Bellator and has since moved to PFL. Butler was a game opponent from the start but Varela took control of the match and hit a lovely elevation from bottom half-guard in order to enter a leg-entanglement. From there it only took a few seconds for Varela to expose Butler’s heel and secure the heelhook to force the tap, partially thanks to the fact that Butler’s back was against the cage and he was very limited in his movement at the time.
Footage of the finishing sequence that Andy Varela used to submit Ian Butler and retain his absolute title at High Rollerz 24 can be found below: