Askren back in S'pore with UFC

Jorge Masvidal landing punches on Ben Askren, forcing referee Jason Herzog to stop the July 7 fight in Las Vegas. The five seconds Masvidal took set a new record for the fastest knockout in UFC history. PHOTO: REUTERS
Jorge Masvidal landing punches on Ben Askren, forcing referee Jason Herzog to stop the July 7 fight in Las Vegas. The five seconds Masvidal took set a new record for the fastest knockout in UFC history. PHOTO: REUTERS

American grappler will return to take on Brazil's Maia in Oct 26 welterweight bout

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Ben Askren is set to return to the Singapore Indoor Stadium, this time to headline the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night Singapore event on Oct 26.

While the UFC has not made an official announcement, the 35-year-old American announced on Twitter early yesterday that he will take on Brazilian Demian Maia, 41, in a welterweight bout.

"Done deal! Oct 26 we will find out who the best MMA grappler on planet earth is," tweeted Askren, who is ranked 11th, one behind Maia.

Askren has competed at the indoor stadium three times, first in 2014 and twice in 2017, while with Singapore-based MMA organisation One Championship and he was triumphant each time.

The November 2017 match against Japanese submission specialist Shinya Aoki was supposed to be his final fight. But a year later, he signed for the UFC in a "trade" that saw former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson join One.

Askren made his highly anticipated UFC debut this March in a bout that ended in a controversial win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, who was deemed to have been unconscious after being put in a bulldog chokehold. Lawler said he was not.

In July, Askren was on the receiving end of a highlight-reel flying knee knockout by Jorge Masvidal. The bout officially ended after five seconds, making it the UFC's quickest knockout.

He will attempt to resuscitate his career with an impressive win over former title contender Maia.

  • 1-1 Ben Askren's UFC record in Singapore. He was 3-0 with One Championship.

The Brazilian veteran, who has fought in the UFC since 2007, has the second-highest number of wins (21) behind Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone's 23.

He unsuccessfully contested the middleweight title in 2010 and the welterweight title in 2017, but is coming off two straight wins in February and June this year.

This year's Fight Night Singapore will be the fourth time the UFC will hold an event in the Republic, and the second under the three-year deal it signed last year.

In June last year, UFC veteran Cerrone headlined the card, but lost via unanimous decision to British upstart Leon Edwards.

A year earlier, Holly Holm defeated Bethe Correia in the main event of the 2017 event.

In the first event in 2015, Tarec Saffiedine beat Lim Hyun-gyu.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2019, with the headline 'Askren back in S'pore with UFC'. Print Edition | Subscribe