GLENDALE – Looking to rebound from a stunning defeat in his previous fight, Karen Darabedyan had a look of disbelief across his face on Sunday evening moments after disaster repeated itself for the up-and-coming Glendale mixed martial artist.
Darabedyan lost his second consecutive bout, once more by armbar in the first round, as Will Kerr claimed an upset victory in their lightweight bout at WEC 49 from Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
"This is a huge, huge upset," proclaimed World Extreme Cagefighting color commentator Kenny Florian at the conclusion of the bout, which was the last of the untelevised undercard, but made air just before the card's main event.
Perhaps evidence to just how surprising the outcome was came by the reaction in the ring, as Darabedyan (9-3) appeared stunned, while Kerr (9-2) flew around the ring with his arms raised before choking back tears during the postfight interview in the octagon.
"I wanted to move past that and prove that I belong here," said Kerr after the bout, referencing moving past his first-round knockout loss to Kamal Shalorus in his WEC debut on Nov. 18.
Darabedyan, a Glendale High graduate and former Glendale Community College student, was looking to do the same after dominating his March 6 bout against Bart Palaszewski before succumbing to an armbar late in the first round.
This time, the end came a lot sooner, as Darabedyan tapped out at 1:20 of the opening frame.
Interestingly enough, leading into the fight, Kerr told the News-Press that fighting off his back against Darabedyan, despite the latter's last fight ending with a loss in that position, wasn't exactly where he wanted to be as Darabedyan had been winning the Palaszewski fight up to that point. After the fight, he spoke along the same lines.
"To be honest that wasn't a game plan," he said in the ring after the bout. "I was gonna stand and go for a takedown later on, it just happened that way. "
Shortly after the fight's start, Kerr waged in, throwing lefts and rights and forcing Darabedyan back against the cage, though none of the punches seemed to land and certainly didn't do any damage. The two clinched against the cage with a few strikes – hammer fists, knees to the leg and punches – exchanged by each.
Eventually, Darabedyan reversed position and put Kerr's back against the cage. Darabedyan secured a takedown with a slick left leg trip and landed in Kerr's open guard.
Kerr was able to use his feet to spin their position away from the cage and when Darabedyan tried to post up with his arm, Kerr threw his legs up and sank in an armbar. Darabedyan fought it off temporarily, but Kerr put his hips in and extended Darabedyan's right arm, eliciting the tap.