Askren remains undefeated in ONE FC debut

Nissi Icasiano

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Askren remains undefeated in ONE FC debut
Askren forced Abbasov to submit at the 4:21 mark of the first round to keep his MMA record unblemished

MANILA, Philippines – Former Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren kept his unbeaten mixed martial arts (MMA) record intact with a first-round submission victory over Bakhtiyar Abbasov in the main event of ONE FC: Honor & Glory Friday, May 30 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Askren, the undefeated NCAA Division I All-American wrestler who signed with ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) last December after failing to draw interest from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was surprisingly taken down by Abbasov in the first ten seconds of the 170-pound contest.

Despite a brief scare in the opening moments of the marquee match-up, the 29-year-old grappler from Milwaukee, Wisconsin quickly scrambled to take back control and began to tee off relentless shower of short punches and knees to the head.

As Abbasov absorbed tremendous amount of damages from his opponent’s ground-and-pound, Askren moved into side control and fastened an arm-triangle choke to get the tapout at 4:21 of the first frame.

“You don’t go into the spider’s web because you’re going to get beat down,” Askren lauded in his post-fight interview.

With his triumph over the 5-foot-10 combatant from Azerbaijan, “Funky” extends his winning streak to 13 professional outings and has now prevailed three fights in a row by stoppage.

Following his stellar ONE FC debut, Askren did not hesitate to call out ONE FC welterweight king Nobutatsu Suzuki and made it clear that he still desires to square off with the Japanese inside the cage.

Askren was originally penciled to challenge Suzuki for the promotion’s welterweight strap in his first ONE FC appearance, but the reigning titlist is recuperating up till now from his grueling encounter against Brock Larson at ONE FC: War of Nations last March 2014.

“Suzuki is going to bring me my belt. He can put it in the middle of the cage and give it to me, or I can take it the hard way,” he proclaimed.

On the other hand, Abbasov drops his MMA win-loss card to 11-3 and snaps his 9-fight winning streak.

In the co-headliner, Vincent Latoel scored the biggest upset of the night, stopping highly-touted lightweight prospect Eddie Ng in the first round.

The clash ended in a controversial fashion when Ng surged at the backpedalling Latoel, the 35-year-old Dutch wisely threw a hard right hand that dropped “The Magician” and then followed it up with two more punches for good measure.

Although Ng appeared to be recovering from the Latoel’s attack, referee Yuji Shimada already stepped in to put a halt to the action at 3:16 of the opening salvo.

Earlier in the night, Filipino fighter Honorio Banario yielded to Mongolian kickboxer Jadamba Narantungalag via unanimous decision. –

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