When the UFC traded Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, the world was ready to see what he could do inside the octagon. A former champion with Bellator and ONE, Askren’s ground game spoke for itself.
He ended up using that to his advantage, defeating UFC mainstay Robbie Lawler in controversial fashion at UFC 235.
To start things off, Lawler (28-13, 1 NC) completely dropped Askren (19-0, 1 NC) on his head to start the bout, almost like a John Cena Attitude Adjustment. He then pounded away at the face of Askren, bouncing his head off of the canvas any way he could. Askren, however, was somehow able to survive.
Referee Herb Dean shockingly did not call for the fight to end right after, so a bloody Askren continued the bout. Askren then got the takedown he was looking for and went for a neck crank. That is when things got interesting.
Robbie’s arm went limp for a brief moment after being set into what looked like a rear-naked-choke. From every other view, Askren only had control above the chin of Lawler. Herb Dean lifted his arm and although Lawler lifted it back up, the former called the fight off with 3:20 in the first.
Askren was confused but relieved after the fight, stating:
“If you watch the tape, I was actually kind of shocked by it but Herb asked him a few times whether he was OK and didn’t hear anything, so I was wondering whether he really was out.”
At the post-fight press conference, Lawler stated he would love to run it back, while Askren was indifferent. A rematch is certainly on the table, but as of now, Askren will look to move on to a very deep welterweight division.
Lawler has now lost three of his last four fights and is currently on a two-fight losing streak. Askren is on a four-fight win streak and remains undefeated.