World-ranked World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight Raphael Assuncao will collide with the once-beaten Diego Nunes in a preliminary matchup at WEC 49 “Varner vs. Shalorus” on June 20 at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Eight bouts are now official for the event, which will serve as the promotion’s debut north of the border.
Anchored at Ascension Mixed Martial Arts in Atlanta, Assuncao submitted to a rear-naked choke from former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber four months ago, snapping a streak of six consecutive victories. The 27-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has delivered more than half (eight) of his 14 career wins by submission. His list of victims includes “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semi-finalist Joe Lauzon and American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal.
Nunes, meanwhile, finds himself on the rebound for the first time as a professional following his unanimous decision loss to L.C. Davis at WEC 44 in November. A potent finisher, Nunes, 27, has secured 11 of his 13 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission. An undisclosed injury forced him to withdraw from a WEC 47 bout against Leonard Garcia in March.
Two lightweights will help carry the WEC 49 torch, as Karen Darabedyan will lock horns with Will Kerr on the undercard.
A protégé of Gokor Chivichyan, Darabedyan trains alongside top featherweight contender Manny Gamburyan. The Armenian-born 23-year-old holds black belts in judo, tae kwon do and karate and burst on the WEC in November, when he defeated former lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough by split decision. Darabedyan has won seven of his past eight fights but submitted to an armbar from Bart Palaszewski at WEC 47 two months ago.
The Connecticut-based Kerr, 27, succumbed to first-round punches from the unbeaten Kamal Shalorus in his promotional debut at WEC 44 in November. Only one of the Ring of Combat veteran’s last seven bouts has reached the judges.