Ben Askren returns to the cage next month to face Nikolay Aleksakhin in the main event of ONE: Global Rivals. The American will be looking to make the first successful defense of his welterweight title after two scheduled match-ups with Luis Santos last year failed to reach a satisfactory conclusion.
Askren (14-0-0-1) is a former Bellator champion, a two-time NCAA Division One wrestling champion, and a U.S. Olympian. He won the ONE belt in 2014, but saw his first defense against Santos end in a controversial no contest after the Brazilian was unable to continue due to an eye poke.
The rematch was booked for November, but was abandoned at the last minute because Santos could not make 170 pounds. It means that Askren has not competed a fight since August 2014, when he stopped Nobutatsu Suzuki in the first round to win the belt.
Aleksakhin (16-3) has been much more active. He fought seven times in 2014 and twice last year. He’s riding a six-fight winning streak and submitted Mongolian welterweight Burenzorig Batmunkh in the third round on his ONE Championship debut last year.
ONE: Global Rivals will be the organization’s seventh card in Manila and is likely to feature a number of Filipino stars like Eduard Folayang, Geje Eustaquio, and Mark Striegl.
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