Varner hurt Shalorus in both the first and second rounds with accurate combinations, but was slowed by a broken hand that allowed Shalorus to salvage a draw with a late takedown despite losing a point for accidental low blows.
The injury-plagued Varner is now 16-3-1, while Shalorus goes to 6-0-2 with the surprising draw to remain unbeaten.
In the WEC 49 co-headliner, Mark Hominick won the battle of Canadian featherweights as he outlasted Yves Jabouin, weathering a high-paced opening round before stopping Jabouin with punches in the second.
Featherweight contender Josh Grispi made his case for a shot at 145-pound title-holder Jose Aldo, ending a year-long layoff by quickly submitting L.C. Davis with a gullotine choke in the opening round.
Also on the Versus-televised WEC 49 main card, lightweight Chris Horodecki earned his first WEC win by choking out late replacement Danny Downes in the third round, while former bantamweight champ Eddie Wineland scored a second-round TKO of Will Campuzano.
The WEC 49 prelims featured wins by Will Kerr, Wagnney Fabiano, Eric Koch, Diego Nunes, Chris Cariaso, and Renan Barao.
The official WEC 49 results were:
- Jamie Varner vs. Kamal Shalorus – split draw (27-29, 29-27, 28-28)
- Mark Hominick def. Yves Jabouin via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:21
- Josh Grispi def. L.C. Davis via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:33
- Chris Horodecki def. Danny Downes via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 3, 1:09
- Eddie Wineland def. Will Campuzano via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:44
- Will Kerr def. Karen Darabedyan via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:20
- Wagnney Fabiano def. Frank Gomez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Eric Koch def. Bendy Casimir via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 3:01
- Diego Nunes def. Rafael Assuncao via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Chris Cariaso def. Rafael Rebello via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
- Renan Barao def. Anthony Leone via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 2:29
Pictured: Kamal Shalorus