Ben Askren easily overcame the final challenge of his MMA career at ONE: ‘Immortal Pursuit.’ The American needed less than a minute to stop Shinya Aoki at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, defend his welterweight title, and register his 18th career win.
Aoki jumped guard almost immediately and Askren needed no encouragement to slam him down to the ground. The American found himself in top position and began to land hard punches from inside his opponent’s guard.
A hard shot seemed to stun Aoki and a punch to the body left the Japanese veteran covering up. He was badly hurt and tried to roll onto his side to avoid the onslaught, leaving the referee no option but to step in and save him from further punishment.
The win came at the 57-second mark and takes Askren to 18-0-0-1. Aoki drops to 39-8-0-1. Afterward, the American admitted that he might be willing to reconsider retirement if the opportunity to fight the best welterweight in the world arose.
“I think I’m number one. I need to prove to the world I’m number one, but unless I get that opportunity, I’m out.”
The UFC welterweight title is currently held by Askren’s teammate Tyron Woodley. It’s unlikely a situation would arise whereby one of the top ranked fighters in the division is contractually free to face the undefeated American and unless that happens, the 33-year-old intends to remain retired.
In the co-main event, Singaporean lightweight prospect Amir Khan (9-2) registered the most impressive victory of his career to date. The 23-year-old employed an intelligent game plan to keep Adrian Pang (22-11-2) at range, using an assortment of kicks, and claimed a unanimous-decision win.
There was also a unanimous-decision victory for Khan’s Evolve MMA teammate Leandro Issa (15-6), who out-grappled Korean bantamweight Dae Hwan Kim (12-2-1) for the full 15 minutes. Mei Yamaguchi (17-10-1) also required the assistance of the judges to overcome Gina Iniong (6-3) in their atomweight rematch.
ONE: Immortal Pursuit Results
- Ben Askren def. Shinya Aoki via TKO (Punches) at 0:57 of round 1
- Amir Khan def. Adrian Pang via Decision (Unanimous)
- Leandro Issa def. Dae Hwan Kim via Decision (Unanimous)
- May Ooi def. Vy Srey Khouch via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:58 of round 1
- Ahmed Mujtaba def. Li Kai Wen via DQ (Illegal Strikes) in round 1
- Tiffany Teo def. Puja Tomar Via Submission (Armbar) at 4:07 of round 1
- Mei Yamaguchi def. Gina Iniong via Decision (Unanimous)
- Arnaud Lepont def. Richard Corminal via submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) at 3:16 of round 1
- Muhammad Aiman def. Yang Fei via Decision (Unanimous)
- Miao Li Tao def. Sim Bunsrun via TKO (Punches) at 1:49 of Round 1