No top MMA fighter has ever retired undefeated, but Ben Askren could be on track to become the first after extending his perfect professional record to 13-0 with a first-round submission win over Bakhtiyar Abbasov at ONE FC: Honor & Glory on Friday.
The main event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium got off to a surprising start when Abbasov executed a double-leg takedown that put Askren on his back, but from that point onwards the former Bellator 170-pound champion dominated.
He controlled Abbasov with ease and softened him up with non-stop ground and pound before sinking in an arm triangle choke that forced the Azerbaijani to tap. The win was Askren’s first since signing with Asia’s biggest MMA promotion. Next up is likely to be a shot at reigning welterweight champion Nobutatsu Suzuki.
While Askren was expected to overcome Abbasov, there was absolutely nothing predictable about the co-main event as Vincent Latoel scored a surprise stoppage win over rising ONE FC lightweight star Eddie Ng.
The Dutch fighter tagged the local favorite with a right hand and referee Yuji Shimada dived in to save him from taking further punishment. Ng was fighting with a broken right wrist, but made no excuses after suffering his first defeat under the ONE FC banner.
Jadamba Narantungalag looks set to be an immediate contender for the ONE FC featherweight title after putting on a virtuoso performance to claim a clear-cut unanimous decision over former champion Honorio Banario.
The Filipino showed much improved striking, but Jadamba took control in the final round, stuffing multiple takedown attempts and showing off his full arsenal of spinning strikes to leave the judges with an easy decision.
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for returning Singaporean Radeem Rahman, who hasn’t fought since ONE FC’s inaugural show and struggled severely in the opening round as the tall and rangy Malaysian Raymond Tan picked him apart.
Tan seemed to be firmly in control, but in the second round the Singaporean mounted a dramatic comeback, taking the Malaysian down and finishing him with a barrage of ground and pound, much to the delight of the crowd.
ONE FC: Honor & Glory Results
Ben Askren def. Bakhtiyar Abbasov by Sub (Arm Triangle) at 4:21, R1
Vincent Latoel def. Eddie Ng by KO at 3:16, R1
Caros Fodor def. Willy Ni by Sub (Kimura) at 3:29, R1
Major Overall def. Bruno Pucci by KO at 2:52, R1
Chi Lewis Parry and Alain Ngalani declared No Contest
Radeem Rahman def. Raymond Tan by TKO (Strikes) at 2:14, R2
Nik Harris def. Brad Robinson by Split Dec, R3
Casey Suire def. Stephen Langdown by Sub (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:41, R1
(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter | Photo courtesy of ONE FC)