Itataya ni ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben “Funky” Askren ang malinis na karta sa kanyang pagbabalik-aksiyon sa Manila para sa ONE: Global Rivals sa Abril 15, sa MOA Arena.
Tangan ang 14-0 marka, idedepensa ng 31-anyos na si Askren ang titulo kontra kay Russia’s Nikolay Aleksakhin (17-3) sa five round welterweight bout na siyang tampok na duwelo sa fight card ng pamosong mixed martial arts promotion sa Asya.
Dating NCAA Division I All-American champion, nakamit ni Askren ang ONE welterweight title nang gapiin via technical knockout si Nobutatsu Suzuki ng Japan.
Itinuturing na pinakamahusay na fighter sa kanyang division, hahamunin siya ni Aleksakhin na nagpamalas din ng katatagan sa mga nakalipas na laban.
Sumikat si Askren nang gapiin niya si Brazilian star Luis “Sapo” Santos via No Contest ruling noong Abril ng nakalipas na taon.
“When I’m in Asia for ONE Championship I am one of the few American fighters. I definitely feel a responsibility to represent America well because there are not a lot of other American fighters in ONE,” sambit ni Askren.
“I owe the Filipino fans. The last time I was in Manila obviously the bout didn’t have the outcome anyone wanted and my opponent was a lot less than courageous in faking his eye injury. The Filipino fans were unfairly robbed of a good fight. They lost the main event that night. I have to do an extra dominant job on April 15th to make sure the Filipino fans get a fight made up to them that they lost out on last year,” aniya.