Ben Askren fulfilled the promise he made before the fight and defeated Nikolay Aleksakhin in dominant fashion at ONE Championship’s Global Rivals event in Pasay City, Philippines this evening.
It was expected that Askren and Aleksakhin would battle for the ONE welterweight title, however, it was revealed at the start of the night Russian had problems making weight and that the two would instead meet in a non-title fight main event.
To the surprise of no one, the opening round began with Askren looking for the takedown and inside a minute he had Aleksakhin flat on his back. From there, Askren worked position well and transitioned round several positions, laying elbows and strikes in from different angles and wearing the Russian down for the remainder of the round.
After sixty seconds of respite, Aleksakhin was already looking weary. Askren yet again took him down and much like the first round, he worked away on the Russian. After a brief escape order was yet again restored with Askren swarming and grinding Alekshkin on the ground from all angles. The opening ten minutes was just one-way traffic
The third round started a lot better for the Russian and he punished Askren with some stiff blows in the opening sixty seconds. After eating another big left, Askren went for the takedown and succeeded at the second time of asking. Having taken some heavy shots at the start of the round, Askren blanketed the Russian again in top position with elbows and fists raining down from all angles for the remaining three minutes. It was definitely the closest of all the rounds but Askren probably still shaded it.
The fight then headed into the ‘championship rounds’ and much like the previous round, the Russian dominated the opening exchanges. Aleksakhin then briefly took the fight to the ground but then decided to pop back up again and keep the fight standing. With exactly half the round remaining, Askren got ahold of the Russian and tripped him to the ground though failed to keep him there as the fight went back to a striking battle where the round fizzled out to nothing.
The fight then entered the last round and as was the trend for the rest of the fight, Askren looked for the takedown and scored it inside 30 seconds putting the Russian flat on his back. Aleksakhin rallied briefly scrambling to his feet but before long he was on his back again. The American then worked hard on getting a submission but Aleksakhin deservedly saw the final bell, even ending the fight on his feet swinging for the fences and one last hail Mary.
After twenty-five minutes of a largely dominant affair, it was no surprise at all to see Askren get the unanimous decision from the judges and take his professional record to 15-0-1.
On the undercard, Aussie Reece McLaren put in a dominant performance against Muin Gafurov, while American Lowen Tynanes also had his hand raised with a unanimous decision victory against Koji Ando. while in the co-main event, Geje Eustaquio put in a masterful performance of striking against Gianni Subba and improved his record to 8-4 with his own unanimous-decision win.
In the co-main event, Geje Eustaquio put in a masterful performance of striking against Gianni Subba and improved his record to 8-4 with his own unanimous-decision win.
ONE: Global Rivals | Friday 15 April 2016
Ben Askren def. Nikolay Alekskhin via unanimous decision
Geje Eustaquio def. Gianni Subba via unanimous decision
Lowen Tynanes def. Koji Ando via unanimous decision
Reece McLaren def. Muin Gafurov via unanimous decision
Honorio Banario def. Vaughn Donayre via unanimous decision
April Osenio def. Natalie Gonzales Hills via submission (armbar) at 3:23 of R1
Danny Kingad def. Muhamad Haidar via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:20
Sunoto Peringkat def. Bernard Soriano via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:50
Joshua Pacio def. Rabin Catalan via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:19
Martin Nguyen def. Li Kai Wen via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:44
Highest Ranked Strawweight Outside of the UFC challenged Angela Lee to a title fight in One Championship
28 Years Old, Zhang Weili(16-1) from China has challenged Strawweight champion Angela Lee for her strap in One Championship according to a source close to the Chinese fighter. Zhang who is the champion and fighting for Chinese based promotion Kunlun FC is currently negotiating on a one fight deal to face Angela. According to the source, they would like to determine who is the best women fighter in Asia in a one-off match and would have no problems to fight under the One Championship banner.
Since her pro debut loss in 2013, Zhang has racked up 16 wins in 3 years with a total of 15 finishes. She is the number #6 ranked women strawweight in the World according to Fightmatrix.com, just behind Rose Namajunas who will be facing UFC champion and number #1 ranked strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the title next month. Angela, on the other hand, is 9 rungs below Zhang at number 15.
While ONE was very eager to have a cross-promotion fight between Angela Lee and Joanna Jedrzejczyk to determine who has the better strawweight, they seem less eager to have a Kunlun FC champion on board for a one fight deal. The source states that ONE would need for Zhang to sign a 2-year exclusive contract first before discussing further for a fight with Angela.
If the source is accurate, ONE seems to be covering their bases this time and would not like for their champion to lose the belt to another promotion without securing Zhang on an exclusive contract. Kunlun, on the other hand, would also not want to lose their best fighter to another Asian promotion. Zhang would be a huge asset to ONE for their expansion in China but it would be tough for them to pry off the Chinese fighter as the source states that Zhang is being paid handsomely on Kunlun FC.
While things are looking bleak for a match between Angela Lee and Zhang Weili to happen in the ONE Championship cage, the fans will be keeping their fingers crossed and hope that they could witness a fight between two of the best women Strawweights in Asia.
Martin Nguyen to challenge Eduard Folayang’s title in Manila for the first champion vs champion fight in ONE Championship
After speculations on who Martin Nguyen’s next opponent when he signed a fight contract, ONE Championship have confirmed that Martin Nguyen is set to challenge Eduard Folayang’s lightweight title in Manila on ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on 10 November.
The fight is the latest in a series of cross-division fights announced after Shinya Aoki vs Ben Askren and Aung La NSang vs Alain Ngalani, but this will be the first time the reigning ONE Championship titleholders from two weight divisions will clash.
Nguyen’s coach, Fari Salievski, did tease on the idea of Nguyen fighting for the title in different weight divisions , but he teased on a bantamweight division since Martin was underweight for his featherweight title fight against Marat Gafurov.
Despite being on the lighter side of a featherweight division, the new champion decided to challenge the title against a fighter a weight class above him, and opens the possibility of the first fighter in ONE Championship to challenge the title in 3 weight divisions.
“I’m not out only to make a statement, but to go down in history as the best to ever compete under the ONE Championship banner” – Martin Nguyen
ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD will be held in Malls of Asia Arena in Manila on 10 November 2017
Bashir Ahmad embraces new role in ONE Championship
Bashir Ahmad is appointed as the Senior Manager of Industry Partnerships, the role made to develop and strengthen the relationships between ONE Championship and various MMA gyms and promotions.
“Essentially, I see myself doing what I did in Pakistan and working to accelerate the growth of MMA in Asia with other players in the MMA scene,” Ahmad explained.
As the pioneer of Pakistani MMA, Bashir Ahmad has worked to promote MMA in Pakistan, most notably the Shaheen Gym project, a non-profit gym which serves to take at-risk youth off the street with the appeal and focus of MMA. With his new position in ONE, Ahmad believes he will be better positioned to develop MMA in Asia, particularly in his hometown Pakistan.
“I think it’s a win-win. I’ve learned about developing MMA in a really difficult market – Pakistan, and I bring that experience with me.”
“On the flip side, I get work with one of the world’s most professional martial arts brands and bring those lessons to my mission in Pakistan.”
4-3 on his professional MMA career, Ahmad has been fighting for ONE Championship since April 2013 and became the first ONE Championship athlete to make the transition from into the management role in the promotion. Despite this additional role, Ahmad is adamant that his new role in ONE Championship does not take him away from active competition.
“100% not retired. I can certainly train. If Martin can beat Gafurov while being a full-time mechanic, I can certainly train when I work in the MMA industry for a living. It’s about time management and training smart.”
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