Ben Askren went the distance for the first time in three years at ONE: Global Rivals. Opponent Nikolay Aleksakhin had his moments at the Mall of Asia Arena, particularly in the third and fourth rounds, on Friday night (local time), but the American’s undefeated record never looked in serious jeopardy.
Askren subjected the Russian to a wrestling clinic. He took him down and kept him down. Aleksakhin spent virtually the entire opening round on his back and found himself in exactly the same position for the majority of the second stanza, as the American attacked with ground and pound from top position.
It looked set to be a long and thankless night for Aleksakhin in this five-round, non-title bout, but at the start of the third, he burst into life with a flurry of punches. A hard right hand knocked Askren’s mouthguard to the floor and, moments later, the Russian connected with a jab followed by a left uppercut, which brought a smile from the champion.
Aleksakhin was given further cause for encouragement when he stuffed a subsequent takedown, although an unfortunate slip left him in the familiar position of being on his back with Askren on top. The reigning ONE welterweight champion stayed there for the remainder of the round, landing some elbows from half guard and then some knees from the north-south position.
At the start of the fourth, Aleksakhin enjoyed more success with his striking and tagged the American with a headkick as he was shooting for a takedown. Askren was knocked backwards and the Russian briefly found himself in mount, but sensibly elected to get back to his feet and try and engage the champion in another stand-up exchange.
It was no surprise when Askren succeeded ….View full article