Key Lightweight Matches Added to WEC 47

By Brian Knapp Jan 27, 2010
Armenian-born Karen Darabedyan will collide with International Fight League veteran Bart Palaszewski in a featured lightweight matchup at WEC 47 “Bowles vs. Cruz” on March 6 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The 23-year-old Darabedyan will ride a seven-fight winning streak into the match. He burst on the WEC scene in November, when he defeated former lightweight champion “Razor” Rob McCullough by split decision. A black belt in Judo and protégé of Gokor Chivichyan, Darabedyan cut his teeth inside the Shark Fights, Gladiator Challenge and Total Fighting Alliance promotions. Victories over Arizona Combat Sports standout Estevan Payan and EliteXC veteran Joe Camacho dot his resume. Darabedyan, who has never been finished, suffered his lone career defeat to Pancrase mainstay Koji Oishi in December 2007.

Palaszewski, a Jeff Curran understudy, brings a wealth of experience with him to the cage. The 26-year-old last competed in December, when he knocked Anthony Pettis from the ranks of the unbeaten in a split decision at WEC 45. A durable proven finisher, he owns other key victories against former IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz and UFC veterans Alex Karalexis, John Gunderson, Ivan Menjivar and Steve Bruno. Twenty five of his 33 career wins have come by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

The lightweight matchups do not end there, as Pettis will answer the bell for a pivotal preliminary showdown with Team Alpha Male’s Danny Castillo.

Pettis, a disciple of former world kickboxing champion Duke Roufus, finds himself on the rebound for the first time in his career, having dropped a split decision to Palaszewski last month. A black belt in tae kwon do, the well-rounded 23-year-old won his first seven professional fights, six of them finishes.

Castillo, meanwhile, has not appeared since he submitted to a third-round rear-naked choke from three-time collegiate All-American wrestler Shane Roller at WEC 44. The defeat snapped a three-fight winning streak for the 30-year-old Californian. In 10 career bouts, Castillo, himself a decorated amateur wrestler, has never been knocked out.

A bantamweight title fight pairing champion Brian Bowles with the once-beaten Dominick Cruz will headline WEC 47, along with a key 135-pound tilt pitting former titleholder Miguel Torres against Urijah Faber protégé Joseph Benavidez. The show will also mark the return of one-time UFC lightweight king Jens Pulver, as he collides with Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Javier Vazquez.
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