With the main card of WEC 43 down a fight when Alex Karalexis had to pull out of his fight with Anthony Pettis due to injury, World Extreme Cagefighting had to pull from the preliminary card.
The Times learned Tuesday that a featherweight bout between Rafael Assuncao and Yves Jabouin has been moved up to the televised main card on the Versus cable network. Tuesday afternoon, the WEC updated its official Web site to indicate the fight had been moved to the main televised card.
WEC 43: Cerrone vs. Henderson takes place Sept. 2 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, about one hour between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
Assuncao is one of the top contenders in the WEC's 145-pound division at 13-1 with a five-fight winning streak. He's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. His lone loss was a majority decision against Chicagoland fighter and WEC bantamweight Jeff Curran at an XFO show at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, Ill., nearly three years ago. He won his debut in the WEC against Jameel Massouh at WEC 40 in Chicago on April 5.
Jabouin is 14-4 and will be making his WEC debut. He has fought in regional promotions like XMMA, Ultimate Warrior Combat and Ultimate Generation Combat.
Also likely in contention to be bumped up to the main card was a bantamweight fight between Chesterton's Eddie Wineland and Manny Tapia. But that fight will stay on the preliminary card. Wineland is the WEC's former bantamweight champion and returns to the cage for the first time since a loss at WEC 40 in April to Rani Yahya. He had been scheduled to fight Frank Gomez at WEC 41 in June but had to pull out of the fight with an elbow injury.
WEC 43 is headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Ben "Smooth" Henderson. The promotion's lightweight belt is held by Jamie Varner, who has been unable to defend it since breaking his hand in a title defense against Cerrone in January.
WEC 43's main card can be seen live on the Versus cable network at 8 p.m. Central time on Sept. 2. Tickets for the event are still available at WEC.tv or Ticketmaster.com.
In addition to the 10 fights on the card, WEC 43 will feature a fan Q&A session with former UFC heavyweight champion and WEC color commentator Frank Mir, former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver and former WEC featherweight champ Urijah Faber after the weigh-ins on Sept. 1, which are free and open to the public. And on Wednesday, former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, one of the most popular fighters in MMA history, will sign autographs in the concourse for fans attending WEC 43.