Just five days before the WEC's debut event in Canada, main-card fighter Ed Ratcliff
has pulled out of his lightweight bout with Canadian Chris Horodecki
due to an undisclosed injury.
WEC general manager Reed Harris
first made the announcement Tuesday night on the Versus roundtable sports highlights show "The Daily Line." The WEC then made a more formal announcement at its website.
Stepping in for WEC 49
: Varner vs. Shalorus as a short-notice replacement is Danny Downes
, who will make his WEC debut. Downes (6-0) trains in Milwaukee at Duke Roufus
' Roufusport camp, the home gym of WEC fighter Anthony Pettis as well as UFC fighters Pat Barry, Ben Rothwell and, more recently, Matt Mitrione.
Downes, 24, is a native of Chicago and a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee. Five of his six wins have come by knockout and have been on regional promotions such as Evolution Fighting Championships and Gladiators Cage Fighting. His most recent win was a TKO of Bruce Johnson on King of the Cage's second Wisconsin show.
Horodecki is looking to get back on track following a loss to Anthony Njokuani in his WEC debut in December. He recently told MMA Fighting
that the matchup with Ratcliff was "picture perfect" for him and was excited for the fight. Ratcliff was also coming off a loss. He was submitted by Donald Cerrone in the main event, a No. 1 lightweight contenders fight, on the same WEC 45 show.
"I want to set the record straight, that's my thing here," Horodecki told MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani. "I came off that last fight – I had a lot of high hopes. Now I want to set the record straight. The opponent's perfect - picture perfect. We're going to put on a hell of a fight. This is kind of my coming-out party, I hope."
Against Njokuani, after briefly being mounted, Horodecki got back to his feet and turned his back to move away and regroup. Njokuani took advantage and landed a kick to the head, then finished the fight on the ground. Horodecki told Helwani the loss was "stupid" and a "brain fart."
The Ontario native will be fighting in his home country for the first time in more than four years – but now against a new opponent.
WEC 49 takes place Sunday from Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. The main card will be televised live on Versus at 9 p.m. Eastern.