It was business as usual for Ben Askren in his One FC debut. | David Ash/Sherdog.com
After a highly-publicized stint as an MMA free agent, Ben Askren got back to doing what he does best at One FC 16 “Honor and Glory,” as the unbeaten former Bellator welterweight champ scored the 13th straight win of his professional career.
The two-time NCAA Division I wrestler and U.S. Olympian was the main attraction at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday night, but his fight with the unheralded Bakhtiyar Abbasov got off to a shocking start when Askren was taken down almost instantly.
No one expected to see the highly-decorated wrestler on his back, but it proved to be only a temporary reprieve for Abbasov, as Askren immediately reversed the position and proceeded to subject him to a grappling and ground-and-pound clinic.
Askren moved seamlessly from position to position, enjoying stints in side control and mounted crucifix while subjecting Abbasov to a non-stop barrage of punches to the head. The end came at the 4:21 mark of round one, when “Funky” secured an arm-triangle choke to force the tap.
Afterward, Askren laughed about his opponent’s decision to go for an immediate takedown.
“You don’t go into the spider’s web because you’re going to get beat down,” Askren said. “What was he thinking?”
Askren has now stopped three consecutive opponents inside the distance. Next up is a title tilt with reigning One FC 170-pound champion Nobutatsu Suzuki. Abbasov drops to 11-3 and sees his nine-fight winning streak snapped.
The co-main event finished in a massive upset as rising star Eddie Ng saw his five-fight winning streak halted by Vincent Latoel. Right from the opening bell, the Hong Kong native worked tirelessly for the takedown but was frustrated by his more experienced opponent.
The end came in controversial fashion at 3:16 of round one when Ng charged forward and the backtracking Latoel dropped the local favorite with a hard right hand. Referee Yuji Shimada dove in immediately and the triumphant Dutchman walked away. However, Ng recovered almost immediately and tried to leap to his feet.
Unsure as to whether the fight was finished, Latoel sprinted back in, looking to land follow-up blows, but Shimada had already made his mind up and stepped between the two fighters. It was not a popular decision among the Singaporean fans, which were firmly behind Ng.
Latoel, who was greeted by a chorus of boos, improves to 15-14-2 while Ng, who made a point of telling the crowd to respect the referee’s decision to stop the fight, falls to 7-2.
Former Legend FC lightweight champion Jadamba Narantungalag had a successful One FC and featherweight debut against Honorio Banario (8-3). Fighting for the first time in more than a year since suffering a serious ankle injury, the 38-year-old Mongolian showcased excellent striking skills and takedown defense en route to a unanimous decision victory. The win establishes Narantungalag (9-3) as an immediate contender for a shot at reigning 145-pound champion Koji Oishi.
Featherweight Major Overall (5-1) took full advantage of the One FC rulebook to finish Bruno Pucci (3-1) with a straight right hand followed by a soccer kick at 2:52 of the opening round. The end came after Overall survived an early rear-naked choke attempt from his opponent.
Earlier, Caros Fodor tapped Willy Ni with a kimura 3:29 into the first round of their lightweight clash; Chi Lewis Parry’s heavyweight bout with Alian Ngalani ended in a no contest after an accidental low blow; Radeem Rahman beat Raymond Tan by TKO 2:40 into the second round at bantamweight; Nik Harris scored a split decision win over Brad Robinson in a catch-weight clash; and Casey Suire submitted Stephen Langdown with a rear naked choke 3:19 into the opening stanza of their bantamweight bout.