Ever since it was announced that Ben Askren signed with ONE FC, fight fans have been wondering exactly who matchmaker Matt Hume would find to fight the undefeated former Bellator welterweight champion.
The answer arrived Sunday in a press release from Asia’s biggest MMA promotion, which stated that Askren would be taking on Bakhtiyar Abbasov in the main event of ONE FC: Honor & Glory. The event is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 30.
Askren (12-0) was initially slated to challenge for the organization’s welterweight title on May 30, but reigning champion Nobutatsu Suzuki has not recovered in time after going five rounds with Brock Larson en route to becoming the inaugural champion just six weeks ago. (Watch highlights of Suzuki vs. Larson here.)
Instead, Askren’s ONE FC debut will be a non-title fight against Abbasov (11-2). The middleweight from Azerbaijan is riding a nine-fight winning streak and will be dropping down to 170 pounds for the first time.
Abbasov is a decorated martial artist who, as well as having picked up the Pro FC middleweight strap during his MMA career, is a world champion in Combat Sambo, a national champion in Judo, and has also won some international jiu-jitsu competitions.
With Askren being a U.S. Olympic wrestler, two-time NCAA Division One Champion, and No Gi Grappling World Champion, as well as being undefeated in MMA, this looks set to be arguably the biggest fight in ONE FC’s history and the winner is likely to be granted an immediate title shot.
Two more fights are currently booked for ONE FC: Honor & Glory with Willy Ni set to face Caros Fodor in a lightweight match-up. The former is a Dutch fighter of Malaysian descent, while the latter fights out of AMC Pankration in the U.S.
Ni (15-8) was submitted by Vincent Latoel in his ONE FC debut, while Fodor (8-4) is coming off of a decision loss at the hands of Vuyisile Colossa. So both fighters will be looking to rebound with a win.
Also looking to get back in the winning column is Jake Butler (3-1), who saw his three-fight winning streak snapped by a second-round TKO loss at the hands of Sylvain Potard last year. The Princeton Graduate is taking on New Zealand’s Pane Haraki in a light heavyweight contest.
ONE FC: Honor & Glory is set for the Singapore Indoor Stadium on May 30. It will be broadcast live all over Asia on Star Sports and available to as an online pay-per-view on the ONE FC website.
(Follow https://twitter.com/JamesGoyder on Twitter)
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts