Askren tells Agi­lan the scary truth

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ONE Wel­ter­weight World Cham­pion Ben Askren has warned Malaysia’s Mixed Mar­tial Arts (MMA) ex­po­nent Agi­lan Thani there is no way the 21-year-old will get the belt off of him come May 26 as they fight in the co­main event of One: Dy­nasty of Heroes in Sin­ga­pore.

“I’m not tak­ing this fight lightly and Agi­lan, you have about four and a half weeks be­fore you are in the cage with me so I’m go­ing to tell you, like what I told ev­ery sin­gle one of my op­po­nents, this is the scary truth.

“I will come across the cage and I will grab you, put you on your back and I will fight you un­til you ask the ref­eree to stop me from do­ing so,” said Askren

The for­mer NCAA Divi­sion I All-Amer­i­can fighter has not stepped foot in the cage for nearly a year af­ter a se­ries of draw­backs that saw him not hav­ing the chance to de­fend his ti­tle.

The Askren-Agi­lan clash has been dubbed as the sec­ond most in­ter­est­ing fight set to fea­ture a Malaysian prospect in two months, the first be­ing the Ed­uard Fo­layang-Ev Ting fight in Manila last month where Ev fell at the hands of Fo­layang who re­tained his One Light­weight Cham­pi­onship belt and ti­tle for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Nick­named the Al­li­ga­tor, Agi­lan, will walk into the Sin­ga­pore In­door Sta­dium with a per­fect 7-0 pro­fes­sional record with five of his seven vic­to­ries end­ing in the first round.

De­spite walk­ing into the fight as the ‘un­der­dog’, Agi­lan is con­vinced his strong mind­set go­ing in will help him pre­vail over Askren who is known for his ground work and grap­pling skills.

“He’s al­ways go­ing to do the same thing and that’s what he al­ways says.

“I’m not wor­ried to go to the ground with him but you have to be­lieve in your skills as much as he be­lieves in his grap­pling.”

This will be Agi­lan’s first five-round bout since his in­cep­tion into One Cham­pi­onship in 2015 but in­sisted it won’t be an is­sue as he has been train­ing for this on a daily ba­sis. Farah Azharie

Ben Askren

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