With WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner on the mend, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone (9-1) will keep busy rather than await an immediate rematch, agreeing to take on Rich "Cleat" Crunkilton (16-2) at WEC 41, which is slated for the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif., on June 7, according to a report on MMAWeekly.com.
"Cowboy" dropped a hard-fought split decision to Varner back in January at WEC 38. The match ended in odd fashion when the champ was struck with an illegal kick midway through the fifth and final round. Because "C-4" was unable to continue, the fight went to the scorecards and Cerrone lost by the slimmest of margins.
Featured on season two of the reality series "Tapout," Cerrone is a very popular fighter. He provides some serious problems for his opponents, too. He's long, athletic and extremely well rounded. Despite having an extensive background in Muay Thai, he finishes most of his foes by submission.
"Cleat" was stopped a minute and 30 seconds into the first round by strikes from "Razor" Rob McCullough in September of 2007 at WEC 30 in his shot at gold. He's only fought once since then, defeating Sergio Gomez by unanimous decision at WEC 33.
The American Kickboxing Academy product was slated to face International Fight League standout Bart Palaszewski in a rumored number one contender eliminator bout, but he was forced off the card after suffering an injury in preparation.
Cage rust could certainly be an obstacle for Crunkilton in this fight. By the time June 7 rolls around it will have been nearly 16 months since he last saw action ... and it will be only his fourth match in more than a three-year span. Still, he's a veteran fighter with 18 fights and almost a decade worth of professional fight experience to his credit.
It shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Both guys will clearly be looking to get back into title contention with a win here. Cowboy just hopes Crunkilton doesn't pull out of this fight like he's done in the past. Earlier this week he spoke about the match up.
Here's a snip:
"I'm gonna to put the spurs to Cleat, if he bothers to show up for this one."
WEC 41 will feature a rematch between Mike Thomas Brown and Urijah "The California Kid" Faber in a featherweight championship bout with Brown's title on the line. Cerrone's teammate from the Greg Jackson camp, Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia, is also expected to be in action in Sacramento on June 7.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more on the developing fight card.