Ben Askren’s first defense of the ONE FC Welterweight Championship has been scheduled.
On April 24, the controversial Askren, a consensus top ten welterweight who is still undefeated in a fourteen fight professional MMA career, will meet Luis “Sapo” Santos in the Philippines.
The event, as confirmed at ONE FC’s official Facebook page this morning, will take place at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
Askren’s opponent “Sapo,” who represents SFT and American Top Team, boasts a 61-9-1 record in a fifteen year MMA career. The vast majority of his experience has been in his native Brazil, where he competed for a variety of events including UCVT and Amazon Fight. He’s probably best recognizable by North American audiences for a stint in Bellator MMA from 2011 to 2012, where he scored his career’s most notable win: a decision victory over Dan Hornbuckle.
At 35, Santos is currently enjoying a seven fight winning streak, including a first round TKO victory over Bakhtiyar Abbasov at ONE FC: Battle of the Lions in Singapore back in November. That bout was Santos’ ONE FC debut.
Askren, 30, is 14-0 in MMA. A former Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion whose wrestling credentials are among the best in the sport, Askren parted ways with Bellator in 2013 to begin competing for ONE FC – winning the promotion’s welterweight title last August at ONE FC: Reign of Champions.
Askren, who splits his training out of RoufusSport in his native Wisconsin and Evolve MMA in Singapore, is also noted for his longstanding feud with UFC President Dana White, who he has criticized for unfair treatment of fighters. Askren is one of the world’s only elite, top-ten ranked fighters not competing under the UFC banner.
ONE FC, which operates out of Singapore, is the largest MMA organization in Asia.