'Must-win' for Darabedyan

Mixed martial arts: Local World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight faces make-or-break match Sunday in Edmonton against Will Kerr.

June 19, 2010|By Grant Gordon

GLENDALE — Tucked away in suburban Van Nuys in the backroom garage of a handsome residential home is a rather modest-looking training ground of wrestling mats known as SK Golden Boys.

Absent of frills, it is a no-nonsense atmosphere in which the likes of rising combatants such as Andy Dermenjyan, World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight title contender Manny Gamburyan and Karen Darabedyan, just more than a week removed from his next — and most important — WEC bout, are refining their already lauded grappling games.

Sweat pouring from his head, a confident smile still marks Darabedyan's face as he rather matter-of-factly states the magnitude of Sunday's lightweight bout against Will Kerr.


"This is a must-win situation for me," the 23-year-old Glendale resident and Glendale High graduate states. "I have to win."

In the world of high-profile mixed martial arts, of which the WEC is no doubt a part of, a fighter is often only as good as his last performance. In addition, more often than not, especially with young fighters still making a name for themselves like Darabedyan (9-2) and Kerr (8-2), two straight losses often equates to a pink slip.

Thus, when Kerr and Darabedyan square off at WEC: Varner vs. Shalorus at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, despite the fact that it will be part of the untelevised preliminary card, it will be a pressure-packed bout for the fighters.

"Absolutely," Kerr said of the pressure factor, "it's a big fight for both of us coming off losses. There's a lot of pressure on both of us."

It's an aspect of the impending battle that Darabedyan readily agrees with.

"There's always pressure, especially coming off a loss," he said. "There's a lot of pressure just to rebound and get back to where you were."

After making his WEC debut in November of 2009 with an impressive win over former company lightweight titlist Rob McCullough, Darabedyan, who took the fight on short notice as a replacement, garnered his share of interest and hype. In his second fight under the company banner on March 6, Darabedyan justified the hype against veteran Bart Palaszewski, rocking the latter with his stand-up and then pummeling him on the ground. But that was for roughly the first four minutes of the fight before Palaszewski caught an admittedly "overzealous" Darabedyan in an armbar and forced a tapout.

"I just rushed to finish the fight," the former Glendale Community College student said.

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