Ben Askren
Funky
Potential wrestling match on tap
WelterweightUFC
April 8, 2019
Askren has verbally agreed to take on Jordan Burroughs in a wrestling match on May 6 at Madison Square Garden, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Askren is currently under some type of UFC contract and is scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal in the cage at UFC 239 on July 6. It's unclear if his participation in this charity event comes with the blessing of the promotion, but it will be worth circling back to make sure Askren emerges unscathed. Burroughs is a five-time world freestyle wrestling champ and two-time NCAA Division 1 national champion, but a matchup of this caliber will give him arguably the largest stage he's seen in his career.
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Next fight on tap
WelterweightUFC
March 29, 2019
Askren will face Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 on July 6 in Las Vegas, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Askren will seemingly be the favorite heading into July while still undefeated across 20 fights, although Masvidal will be coming into the octagon with some momentum after defeating Darren Till by TKO (strikes) just over a week ago at UFC Fight Night in London.
Survives early to submit Lawler in UFC debut
WelterweightUFC
March 2, 2019
Making his long awaited UFC debut on Saturday, Askren defeated Robbie Lawler via submission (bulldog choke) at 3:20 of Round 1 at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It didn't come easy and it didn't come without controversy. Less than 30 seconds into his first fight with the company, Askren found himself in more trouble than at any point in his entire decade-long career. "Funky" was dropped on his head by Lawler following an immediate takedown attempt and it was a minor miracle that he survived the ensuing onslaught. He eventually recovered and the ensuing stoppage by referee Herb Dean appeared to be a poor one, but as Askren told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview, "I'm not the referee. My job is to come here and fight." Indeed it is and he now finds himself a perfect 1-0 in the UFC. Askren is marketable and a big name. The UFC has no reason to take it slowly with him at age 34.
Debut pushed back
WelterweightUFC
December 13, 2018
Askren will have his scheduled UFC debut against Robbie Lawler moved to UFC 235 on March 2 following the cancellation of UFC 233.
ANALYSIS
This is significant because the promotion has now confirmed Askren's debut date, and both fighters will have over an extra month to prepare. Early betting odds peg Askren as a (-300) favorite for this matchup, which shouldn't change much despite the fight moving from Anaheim to Las Vegas.
UFC debut booked
WelterweightUFC
November 7, 2018
Askren will make his UFC debut in a welterweight matchup against Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 on Jan. 26, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Askren is one of the greatest undefeated fighters still active in MMA, and at the age of 34, recently got his first opportunity in the UFC via a trade with ONE Fighting Championship. He called out a plethora of fighters on social media after the deal was announced, and now finally has himself an opponent -- an established veteran in Lawler that currently sits at No. 5 in the UFC's welterweight rankings. While Askren's fight resume pales in comparison to the elite fighters Lawler has tangled with over the years, this one should still be a close matchup. Lawler has defended takedowns at a rate of 69 percent throughout his UFC career, and was taken down twice in his most recent matchup against Rafael dos Anjos. Wrestling is both the beginning and end to Askren's game, as he's a fighter that prides himself on taking it to the mat and maintaining top position, similar to the style of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The majority of fantasy points Askren will accumulate will result from takedowns, advances and ground strikes as he looks to wear Lawler down. Lawler, of course, will look to keep this fight standing, but very few have been able to do that against Askren in his nearly decade-long MMA career.
Joins UFC promotion following trade
WelterweightUFC
October 27, 2018
Askren was traded to the UFC promotion in exchange for Demetrious Johnson on Saturday, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Askren has been fighting since 2009 and has yet to suffer a defeat in that time, building up a perfect record of 18-0 (1 NC). He'll now get a chance to take his talents to the UFC promotion, though he has yet to be scheduled for his first fight. Highly regarded as one of the best fighters all-time to never compete under the UFC banner, the 34-year-old will bring his wrestling-based style to the welterweight division. While he has some knockout power, as shown by his last two wins with ONE, those who roster Askren in fantasy can expect to see most of their points come from takedowns, advances and ground strikes. That has the potential to be a highly-lucrative selection, especially when featured in a five-round fight -- likely the UFC's ultimate goal with Askren.