American Ben Askren will take on Bakhtiyar Abbasov of Azerbaijan in the ONE FC: Honour and Glory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang on May 30.
PETALING JAYA: ONE FC’s hot new welterweight prospect Ben Askren describes himself as “dominant” ahead of his much anticipated debut for Asia’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
He is not exaggerating either. The American has a professional 12-0 unbeaten streak.
“In my last fight, I out-struck my opponent Andrey Koreshkov of Russia 248-3. I haven’t been in close fights ... more lopsided fights and I think that has a lot to do with my style of fighting. I think it’s a dominant style,” said Askren after his workout at the Merican Muay Thai Gym in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday.
The Wisconsin-born fighter is currently on a five-city tour ahead of his debut match against Bakhtiyar Abbasov of Azerbaijan in the ONE FC: Honour and Glory at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang on May 30.
Askren has earned a reputation as one of the best welterweight (77kg) fighters in MMA with his impressive run of 12 wins – three TKO, three submissions and six decisions.
But his flirtation with fame really started with wrestling. Askren, who wrestled for the University of Missouri, picked up an impressive 153-8 record with 91 of those wins coming by way of pins.
He is also a two-time NCAA wrestling champion, four-time All-American (2004-2007) and an Olympian from the 2008 Beijing Games.
What can fans expect from him come May 30?
“World class wrestling,” said Askren emphatically.
“Asia’s not really big on wrestling. That is the freshness I’ll bring to ONE FC. The fans haven’t seen high-level wrestling and I think they are really going to enjoy it,” he continued.
“If you look at worldwide MMA rankings, wrestlers do really well. It’s a great background to have because you’re able to control the fight – (whether) you want to keep it standing or you can do takedowns if you want to take him down,” said Askren who stands at 178cm.
In Singapore, Askren faces no slouch in Abbasov who not only holds a professional fight record of 11-2 but is currently riding a nine-match winning streak.
Askren is not too worried though. He’s ready to let his skills do the talking.
“It’s the first time I’m fighting in Asia. I’ve watched the ONE FC brand and their fights are really exciting so I’m just excited to be headlining the card. Singapore is the home base of ONE FC, so I know they’ll pack the house and it’ll be a good time,” added the 29-year-old.
“I’m really confident of my chances. I’m undefeated 12-0 and I’m going to keep putting in the effort and style that I’ve done in my previous fights and I expect to win. I’ve got a wrestling base and I’ve been doing it my whole life and it’s worked in all my other fights.
“No reason to expect it won’t work in this fight.”