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Manny Gamburyan vs John Franchi on tap for WEC 41

Manny Gamburyan (8-4), lightweight finalist from season five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), has officially decided to drop down in weight and join the WEC's featherweight class. His first match at 145 pounds will be against undefeated John Franchi (5-0) at WEC 41 on June 7 according to MMAmadness.

"The Pitbull" steamrolled through Noah Thomas, Matt Wiman and Joe Lauzon en route to a spot in the finals across Nate Diaz on TUF, but an injury to his shoulder cost him dearly in the championship fight. After six months on the sidelines rehabilitating the injury, Gamburyan jumped right back into the win column with back-to-back first round submission victories over Nate Mohr and Jeff Cox.

However, a twelve second knockout loss to Rob Emerson at UFC 87 and a unanimous decision loss to Thiago Tavares at UFC 94 brought the Armenian fighter back down to earth and more than likely prompted him to start weighing some other options, literally.

Things won't get much easier in the WEC though. The 145 pound class is perhaps the deepest division in the organization with world class fighters like Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Jose Aldo, Leonard Garcia, Jens Pulver, Wagnney Fabiano and plenty of others including Manvel's first opponent on June 7, John Franchi.

Franchi is undefeated so far as a professional. He debuted for the WEC earlier this month at WEC 39 with a hard fought split decision win over a very difficult to beat Mike Budnik. Before that, he competed once on an IFL card, where he submitted Frank Latina in the first round.

At lightweight, Manny specialized in using his strength as an advantage to overpower his opponents into submissions or to put them in difficult positions. It's scary to think about what kind of monster he can be against guys ten pounds lighter, but Franchi is no pushover. This should be a good test for the Pitbull at the new weight.

WEC 41 will be headlined by a featherweight championship rematch between title holder Mike Thomas Brown and "The California Kid" Urijah Faber. The main card will air live on the Versus network on fight night.

For all the latest on WEC 41 click here.

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