Askren Looks To Turn Sin City Into Funky Town
Ben Askren is preparing to make his UFC debut Saturday night against veteran brawler and former champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler. Las Vegas might be known as sin city but for Ben “funky” Askren it becomes funky town and Ben say’s Lawler is funked. After the cancellation of their match at UFC 233 in Anaheim, California Dana White set the stage for the much anticipated debut for UFC 235 ‘Jones vs, Smith”.
Hailing from Cedar Rapids, Iowa and fighting out of Phoenix Arizona Askren is putting it all on the line in his debut. Hype around this UFC newcomer has been off the charts and his opponent is no easy task. Boasting an undefeated record of 18-0 with 1 no contest (due to eye poke) he steps into the cage against Lawler 28-12 with 1 no contest (also an eye poke) looking to make a name for himself with UFC fans. Coming off a loss to Rafael dos Anjos and losing two his last 3 fights Lawler needs to get back on track. Big wins are nothing new for Robbie just ask Donald Cerrone, Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald who all fell to the ruthless one. Sin city is about to get funky but is Askren ready to get ruthless?
Submissions or punches Askren can win either way but his wrestling separates him from almost any other fighter. Askren finished his college wrestling career at the University of Missouri with a record of 153-8. He lost the NCAA championship match to Chris Pendleton in both 2004 and 2005 before winning it in 2006 and 2007. Ben made the 2008 US Olympic team but fell short of a medal. Lawler also has a couple wins vis submission but is known for his striking and is considered a ruthless brawler. Flying knees and head kicks occasionally come into play making Robbie a dangerous and exciting fighter. Both fighters stand 5’11” and weigh about 170 pounds but Lawler will hold about a 3 inch reach advantage.
Askren is a former Bellator and ONE championship welterweight champion, titles he never lost in the cage, Lawler is a former UFC welterweight champion and is currently ranked number 6 in that division. Beating Lawler would be a huge step for Askren immediately placing him in title talks and setting up a possible fight with Stephen Thompson or Colby Covington to challenge the winner of Tyron Woodley vs Kamaru Usman also taking place at UFC 235. Losing to Lawler on the other hand could bring fans and the UFC to believe that Askren is over hyped and doesn’t belong in the title picture. Askren can ill afford the latter and knows exactly what is at stake Saturday night in sin city. Confidence has never been an issue with Askren but one might wonder if he will allow that to affect his fighting style against Lawler. Taking the ruthless one down and working his wrestling should lead him to victory, while he is capable of standing and get getting funky with Lawler it also brings the risk of catching a heavy hand or a flying knee to close out the party.
Personally I believe the hype on Askren and his funky fighting style. I have watched tape when he fought Lyman Good, Douglas Lima, Agilan Thani and Shinya Aoki. Askren may be unorthodox in his style but he is also very dangerous and is threat to the UFC welterweight division. Lawler knows a win over this vaunted fighter acquired via a trade between UFC and ONE championship that sent “Mighty Mouse” packing would be a huge step for one last title run. Saturday night sin city gets funky and it might be a ruthless night.
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check out my last feature blog on Jon “Bones” Jones