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Askren ready for Aleksakhin and would ‘love to beat up Luis Santos’

Jim Edwards

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Speaking to Jim Edwards of MMA Latest today, the ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren reiterated he was happy continuing to ply his trade in the organisation and revealed he still had several fights left on his fight contract with the Asian promotion:

“After my fight in April, I’ve got five fights left and I’m really happy with ONE,” said Askren.

“I’ve got quite a few fights left on my contract. ONE is growing rapidly and I’m sure they are going to continue to sign fighters for me to fight.”

Askren will next compete in ONE FC on April 15th when he takes on Nikolay Aleksakhin in the main event at ONE FC’s ‘Global Rivals’ show. Askren is expecting a tough test from the Russian who is riding a six-fight win streak and has a professional record of 17-3-0:

“He has a combat sambo background so the first guy I fought in ONE was a world combat sambo so I think I have a decent idea of what to expect,” said Askren.

He added: “I’m excited to get in the cage and fight. It’s all good fighting in the Philippines, that’s where I fought last year and I actually owe the Philippines fans a good performance. Unfortunately, they had to watch the eye-poke and it just wasn’t a good way to end the night of fights.”

Askren was referencing his last ONE FC fight against Luis Santos which ended in a no contest back in April last year following an eye poke that forced the referee to stop the fight. The two were meant to meet again in a rematch in November, however, Luis Santos failed to make the weight and then refused the catchweight agreement that Askren offered him. While Askren was none to impressed by the Brazilian’s conduct, he would still love to fight Santos if ONE FC put him in front of him:

“I would love to fight him [Luis Santos}, but I’ve said to ONE that they would have to have a backup opponent ready in case he pulled any shenanigans like last time. I would make sure they had some willing and able to fight at short notice.”

He later added: “I would love to beat up Luis Santos – if he would actually show up. I would imagine that would be next on my docket after this.”

When Askren does compete next in April, he will be competing in his first fight since ONE FC made changes to their weight divisions. The organisation were the first in the world to take radical steps to lessen the stress on the fighters who had previously had to ‘cut weight’ in order to meet the weight limits of the class they competed in. Askren was full of praise for the new system and explained it in detail:

“They actually renamed the 185lbs division to welterweight [previously middleweight], because they are now measuring your walk around weight now which is really cool,” said Askren.

“They are the first promotion to go exclusively to this format so you weigh-in the day of the fight and then you have to pass a urine test to prove you are hydrated.

“I think it’s unique, I think it’s good and I think frankly, my weight where I have to cut to 170lbs from 183-185lbs, which is what I would walk around every day at, means it’s just exactly the same thing for me. I’ve just got to walk around hydrated at 183-185lbs and that’s what I always planned on doing for my fights so I think we are good to go.”

Askren ended the interview by stating his plans for the rest of the year:

“I’m trying fight three times this year and ONE said they were going to make it happen. I’ve not fought three times in a year since 2010so it’s been a while. I’m just excited to just get in the cage and stay active because this is what I do for a living and I just want to do it as frequently as possible.”

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185 Fight to Watch: Heather Hardy vs. Kristina Williams

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Heather Hardy will compete in MMA for the second time at Bellator 185 on Friday night, as she faces Kristina Williams in a strawweight contest. The fight takes place on the main card at the Mohican Sun Arena in Connecticut.

Potentially, what Bellator have in Heather ‘The Heat’ Hardy is a major draw that they can build their 125 pound division around. While relatively new to the organisation she is fast becoming one of the more popular names on the roster. Her career is in the early stages, but many have already started to draw comparisons with former boxer turned MMA star, Holly Holm. Holm’s UFC success partly inspired the native New Yorker to make the switch from boxing.

Hardy is already an established world champion in the land of the ‘sweet science’, holding a 21 fight undefeated professional record. She made her MMA debut in June this year with a victory over Alice Yauger, at Bellator 180. At 35, Hardy is a late starter in the sport, but proved at Madison Square Garden against the credible Yauger that she has a bright future.

Hardy’s first outing in the cage was disciplined and composed. Despite a slow start in round one, Hardy grew in confidence as the fight progressed and her cardio never faltered. She mixed in plenty of kicks that complimented her boxing and looked at ease in the clinch, even defending a couple of takedown attempts in the process.

Despite looking on course for a decision win, Hardy forced the TKO stoppage with just thirteen seconds remaining in round three. Even a large cut that required seven stitches from an accidental head clash could not deny her victory.

Hardy was fighting an experienced professional, competing for the tenth time in MMA, which makes the win over Yauger more impressive. However, her upcoming opponent Kristina Williams will be making her professional debut.

There is little known about Williams except that she is 3-0 at amateur level. One of those wins came by way of submission so there may well be a threat to Hardy if the fight goes to the ground. More importantly for Williams is how she copes on the big stage against a popular opponent, who is more familiar competing in high pressure combat situations. If Williams can produce an upset it will be a huge boost in her young career.

But in all honesty, this fight is about Hardy. It’s about getting the win and gaining valuable experience. The boxing career is on hold while MMA takes centre stage. Beating Williams will mean she likely continues fighting inside a cage rather than a boxing ring.

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