MMA: Demian Maia chokes out Ben Askren to win battle of grapplers at UFC Singapore event

A photo taken on Oct 24 shows Demian Maia (left) and Ben Askren meeting before facing off at UFC Fight Night Singapore at the Indoor Stadium on Oct 26, 2019.
A photo taken on Oct 24 shows Demian Maia (left) and Ben Askren meeting before facing off at UFC Fight Night Singapore at the Indoor Stadium on Oct 26, 2019.ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

SINGAPORE - Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Demian Maia came out on top in the battle between expert grapplers on Saturday (Oct 26) night, submitting Ben Askren in the third round of their five-round main bout at the Fight Night Singapore event the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Brazilian fighter Maia, 41, locked in a rear-naked choke on Askren after a back-and-forth contest with the American, a former Olympic wrestler.

Maia, who has spoken of his plans to retire from mixed martial arts after another two more fights in the UFC, has now strung three wins in a row. Askren, meanwhile, has now suffered two consecutive losses.

In other fights last night, Ciryl Gane put in a hugely impressive performance in his win over Don'Tale Mayes. Gane, 29, touted for big things in the UFC, earned his second submission win in as many UFC fights, after locking in a heel hook on Mayes in the third round of their heavyweight fight.

Michael Johnson's return to the lightweight division, meanwhile, turned sour for the American after the judges scored a majority decision win for his rival, Scottish fighter Stevie Ray. Johnson controlled the first two rounds, drawing blood from his rival, but Ray dominated Johnson on the ground in the third and final round which proved enough to sway the judges.

American fighter Beneil Dariush earned a quick finish with a first-round submission of Chamorro fighter Frank Camacho in their lightweight duel.

And Muslim Salikhov of Russia won his three-round welterweight battle with Argentinian fighter Laureano Staropoli via unanimous decision after an impressive display of striking.