GLENDALE — Karen Darabedyan's recent misfortunes in the cage followed him to Texas on Saturday night.
The Glendale High graduate dropped his third consecutive fight, losing to Daniel Straus at Shark Fights 13 at the Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas via unanimous decision. The bout was streamed live on sherdog.com as part of the preliminary portion of the event, which offered its main card on pay-per-view.
After the final bell, Darabedyan raised his hands as a sign that he thought he had won the bout, but after the judges' scorecards were read — incorrectly as 10-9 on all three — the Glendale resident was clearly surprised and disappointed with the result.
The Glendale News-Press scored the fight 29-28 for Darabedyan, but every round was razor thin.
Darabedyan (9-4) showcased his stellar overall game, particularly in the early going of the fight, but for the most part seemed to lack the killer instinct and aggression that has characterized much of his career.
Straus (13-3), a late replacement for Darabedyan's original opponent Markus Hicks, won his ninth straight bout by doing his share with takedowns, which was expected, and holding his own on the feet against Darabedyan, which was not expected.
The opening round was the most action-packed of the three with an array of offense featured by both.
Straus shot in early for a takedown, but Darabedyan sprawled well. The two squared off standing, throwing punches and kicks to the head, body and legs.
They also clinched against the cage, reversing positions, throwing inside punches and knees to the thighs. Straus landed the first good punch with a right, but Darabedyan didn't let it affect him and worked the two against the cage.
He would also work a trip for a takedown and then, during a clinch against the cage, he dropped down for the most telling sequence of the stanza, applying a leg lock and going for a submission. Straus worked free and spun out and into top position. Darabedyan would finish the round in side control, delivering knees to the body.
The second round slowed dramatically, but was still very nip and tuck.
Darabedyan easily avoided some early strikes and then stopped a takedown with a guillotine attempt that never appeared too tight, but he managed to land some clean shots while keeping Straus at bay with the hold. Straus would land a solid jab later on, but for the most part Darabedyan pushed the pace of the round.
There were three small flurries during the round, including one to close it that Darabedyan looked to have got the best of. Replays showed that Darabedyan landed the best punch of the round during one of the flurries with a left hook to the face.
The third round saw both visibly tired and Straus was able to work an early takedown and worked to the mount. Impressive as the positioning was, Darabedyan suffered little to no damage and worked his way up to his feet.
Darabedyan, almost too easily, secured a double-leg and pulled Straus out from against the cage and onto the canvas. Darabedyan landed some ground-and-pound to the head and body that was hardly devastating, but far more impressive than Straus' work earlier in the round. Straus was able to sweep and reverse the advantage, but Darabedyan got to his feet.
A clinch against the cage was broken up by the official and Straus shot in for a double-leg and twisted Darabedyan down in the waning seconds. Darabedyan wasted no time in working back up, but took some punches for the effort.
Of the three straight losses, this was the first by decision for Darabedyan, but like the others, this was seen as an upset.