Former Bellator Champ Ben Askren Set for ONE FC Debut on May 30

April 7, 2014
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Ben Askren - Bellator ChampionEver 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.

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  • onepunch

    It appears Ben would face a good opponent. With such a good record in grappling for both fighters, it’ll be interesting to see either would want to get there. My guess is that this fight will be a combination of stand-up and grappling, with the fight ending in a decision. I give that decision to Ben as he is more accustomed to the cage and likely to have more stamina. In a way, it’s appropriate that they give Nobutsuki more time to recover to defend the welterweight title, and this gives the new comers a chance to showcase their skills, allowing the public at large to see what they can do. I’m looking forward to seeing both good grapplers competing in the cage under the One FC rule set, whether either one can maximize it to their advantage. It’ll be interesting to watch and a good match-up.

    • shakejunt

      ben’s gonna mount this guy within a minute or two and pepper up his face until he quits.


    Maybe they can sign Shields, since ufc cut him. Ben vs Jake!

    • TheCerealKiller

      A fight of two super humpers? No thanks.

      Funny how you beat MMAWeekly to the punch on Jake being cut.


        Lol, Come on don’t you wanna see who is champ of super humpers? na but it would at least give Askern a legit top 10 fighter with years of mma experience. Lets see if Ben can toss Jake around like Hector did??

        • TheCerealKiller

          Shields is only ranked #11 on the UFC rankings. He is not a legit top 10. I have no interest in pure wrestlers in MMA. Nobody really wanted Ben, nobody will want Shields and it’s because they are not entertaining.

          • Ol’ Rooter

            There’s a sport for people like you, it’s called professional wrestling. The WWE is putting on shows all the time. Go watch ya some.

      • shakejunt

        you don’t wanna see where askren stands compared to ufc talent?