Ben Askren wins UFC debut over Robbie Lawler in controversial fashion

Ben Askren finally arrived in the UFC on Saturday night and he now has his first official win but it probably didn’t end the way he wanted.

The end came in the opening round with Askren locking up a bulldog choke to get the submission win over former champion Robbie Lawler but the end of the fight will live in infamy as a potential blown call by the referee.

Before the fight was over, Askren got off to just about the worst start possible as he immediately tried to take Lawler to the mat in the opening seconds and instead got reversed, picked up and dropped on his head.

Lawler took full advantage of the big slam by blasting away at the 2008 Olympian with a barrage of bombs that snapped Askren’s head back repeatedly. Askren was able to roll to his back but that only resulted in the former UFC champion cracking him with several stiff elbows that opened a cut on his face.

The fight worked back to its feet with blood streaming down Askren’s face as he continued to press forward looking for the takedown. While he was still eating some punishing shots, Askren eventually got Lawler down into his world on the ground.

In a scramble to get back to the feet, Askren caught Lawler in the rarely seen bulldog choke as he wrenched up on the headlock and attempted to get the submission.

A second later it appeared that Lawler’s arm may have gone limp so referee Herb Dean rushed into stop the contest. As soon as Askren released the hold, Lawler popped right back up to complain about the stoppage as he was definitely not unconscious from the choke.

Upon replay, Lawler’s hand dropped but it appeared he gave a ‘thumbs up’ to give the nod to the referee that he was OK but the fight stopped a split second later.

In the end, Askren gets the win by first round submission with the end coming at 3:20 into the opening round.  

Following the win, Askren immediately called attention to UFC president Dana White sitting cageside while asking for even tougher competition going forward.

“Hey Dana, is that really the best you got? Bring ‘em baby,” Askren shouted.

Despite the odd ending, Askren silenced a lot of doubters by getting the job done in his UFC debut while remaining undefeated in his professional fighting career.

It’s tough to tell where Askren will go from here but he obviously proved that he belongs amongst the top welterweights in the world surviving that early beating from Lawler and then powering his way back to get the win.