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Two-time NCAA titleholder Ben Askren new ONE FC welterweight champ

Nobutatsu Suzuki (left) and Ben Askren at ONE FC 19 weigh-ins
Nobutatsu Suzuki (left) and Ben Askren at ONE FC 19 weigh-ins
Photo from ONE FC website, used with permission

Ben Askren, a two-time NCAA wrestling champ at University of Missouri and former Bellator Fighting Championships titleholder, can now add ONE FC welterweight champ to his resume.

It took Askren less than 90 seconds to take the title from Nobutatsu Suzuki at the One Fighting Championships’ ONE FC 19 “Reign of Champions” event at the World Trade Centre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates Friday, August 29. The former University of Missouri mat champ defeated Suzuki via TKO by strikes at 1:24 of the first round in one of three title bouts that were at the top of the card for the Middle East event.

“Suzuki never stood a chance,” reported Brian Knapp, writing for the mixed martial arts website Sherdog.com. “Askren secured a quick takedown, moved to a dominant position and let loose with a barrage of knees and punches that rendered the Japanese striker incapable of defending himself. For all the criticism he has received, Askren has now finished each of his last four opponents.”

Ariel Helwani, respected MMA writer, tweeted this on @arielhelwani: “Ben Askren just won the One FC 170 title in extremely dominant fashion. 95 seconds. I don't think Suzuki landed a punch.”

Here’s how John Heinis of BleacherReport.com decribed the action: “After the former Olympic-level wrestler scored a takedown seconds into the bout, Askren had no problem maintaining top position before unleashing about 30 seconds of vicious ground-and-pound. The referee stoppage appeared to be a late one, as Suzuki offered no resistance other than trying to protect his face with his arms.”

In grabbing the ONE FC welterweight crown, Askren maintains a flawless record in MMA, now 2-0 in ONE FC, and 14-0 overall. Suzuki, who was coming off of two straight ONE FC victories over Phil Baroni and Brock Larson, now has an overall MMA record of 11-2-2, and 2-1 in ONE FC.

In December 2013, Askren announced he had signed with ONE FC, a Singapore-based mixed martial arts organization. In May, he made a successful debut at ONE FC 16 “Honor and Glory” event in Singapore, scoring a first-round submission of Bakhtiyar Abbasov, an experienced judo and combat sambo star from the eastern European country of Azerbaijan, with a tight arm-triangle choke at 4:21. In a post-match interview after beating Abbasov, Askren called out the then-ONE FC 170-pound champion, saying, “Suzuki is going to bring me my belt. He can put it in the middle of the cage and give it to me, or I can take it the hard way.”

A native of Wisconsin, Ben Askren was a four-time NCAA All-American at Missouri, winning national titles in 2006 and 2007. He also was a member of the U.S. freestyle team competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.