In a battle of undefeated warriors, Ben “Funky” Askren retained his ONE Welterweight World Championship in the co-main event of ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES in Singapore.
The 32-year-old American dominated Malaysia’s Agilan “The Alligator” Thani, and finished him with an arm triangle submission at the 2:20 mark of the opening round.
“I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I landed a few punches, landed a kick, made the clinch, got the takedown and got to all my strong positions, which is the crucifix position. And when I get to that position, I land a lot of damage,” he says.
“I was able to land a few elbows, a whole bunch of punches, and then he was able to get out of it. I got him back down, and the arm triangle — once you beat some people up, a lot of times the arm triangle will present itself. I hunted it there, and I found it.”
“Funky” closed the distance soon after the opening bell, and immediately went to work on the 21-year-old challenger. The Olympic wrestler scored a quick takedown and advanced to side control.
At times, it looked like the champion was floating around the cage. By contrast, “The Alligator” looked out of his element. A series of unanswered blows to the head nearly prompted the referee to call it right there, but the Kuala Lumpur native was able to get back to his feet.
The Askren onslaught continued with another immediate takedown. This time, however, the American would not be denied. He took his time and carefully locked in an arm triangle choke, forcing Thani to tap.
Still unbeaten at 16-0, 1 No Contest, Askren is already eyeing his next match in August, and he has a few opponents in mind.
“That is the date I got open on my calendar, and if [ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaty] Bigdash does not want to show up, I bet the Swedish man will,” he says, referring to Zebaztian Kadestam, who upset Luis Santos earlier in the night. “I will be in Kuala Lumpur, so one of those guys better show up.”
Thani, who regularly competes in his home of Kuala Lumpur, may show up, but he will be bringing a 7-1 record with him.