It took ONE Championship welterweight titleholder Ben Askren less than a minute to close the final chapter of his career.
And, at 33, he’s taking an unbeaten record into retirement.
Askren (18-0) confirmed his heavy favorite status with a TKO over Japanese notable Shinya Aoki (39-8) in the headlining affair of today’s “ONE Championship 65: Immortal Pursuit.”
The event, which took at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore, streamed as an online pay-per-view in North America.
After a couple punches were exchanged, Aoki quickly jumped to guard. Askren responded by slamming him to the ground, then followed with heavy punches from the top. As Aoki crumpled up, the ref jumped in to stop the fight just 57 seconds in.
Asked to confirm whether the headlining affair was definitely his goodbye from MMA, Askren repeated the same thing he’d been saying in the lead-up to the matchup.
“I think it’s it,” Askren said. “I did leave that caveat, if I get the opportunity to prove I’m No.1 – I think I’m No. 1. I know I’m No. 1. I haven’t gotten to prove to the world I’m No. 1. So if I get that opportunity, (I’d) take that opportunity.
“I don’t need to make any more money. I need to show people that I’m the best welterweight in the world. Other than that, I’m out.”
Askren currently is ranked No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA welterweight rankings. Considering the No. 1 fighter is his friend and Roufusport stablemate Tyron Woodley, the UFC’s welterweight champion, that would be a tough definition to make right now. In the meantime, the retired champ is just looking forward to enjoying some Christmas grub.
Pang hangs tough, but Amir Khan scores unanimous nod
It wasn’t a knockout, but 23-year-old Amir Khan’s kick-heavy striking game, distance control and overall composure were more than enough to earn him the unanimous nod over the experienced Adrian Pang in a lightweight encounter.
Khan was aggressive off the bat, making sure to use his reach advantage by keeping the distance with a variety of head kicks and attacks on Pang’s lead leg. Pang remained patient, defending the high blows and looking to get in the pocket. Thrice in the first round, Pang advanced with a flurry of punches to press Khan against the cage, but was unable to secure a takedown.
The damage on Pang’s lead leg showed in Round 2. The Aussie’s attempts to take Khan to the mat worked late in the frame, but Khan was able to get back up immediately after two consecutive takedowns. Khan also landed solid strikes, including one on-the-button head kick, but Pang ate them.
Khan had less space to work with in Round 3, but Pang’s grit was still not enough to turn things around. Khan, who’s now on a six-fight streak. hadn’t needed the scorecards to get a win since his pro debut.
“(Pang) may be old in age, but he’s still got the heart of a young lion,” Khan said after the bout.
Dae Hwan Kim is no match to Leandro Issa’s smothering ground game
Kim probably knew exactly what Issa wanted to do in their bantamweight encounter, but that didn’t stop the Brazilian from accomplishing it. The lauded Brazilian grappler was quick to get the battle where he wanted from the start, pressuring his striker counterpart toward the cage and taking him down early in the first round.
The next two rounds followed similar script: Issa smothered Kim from top position on the ground, with the occasional trip to his opponent’s back. Kim resisted submission attempts and hung in there just enough to survive the elbows and short punches that rained down. But, apart from two brief scrambles in Rounds 1 and 3, surviving was basically all that Kim did.
ONE Championship 65 results included:
MAIN CARD (Online pay-per-view)
- Ben Askren def. Shinya Aoki via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:57
- Amir Khan def. Adrian Pang via unanimous decision
- Leandro Issa def. Dae Hwan Kim via unanimous decision
- May Ooi def. Vy Srey Khouch via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:58
- Li Kai Wen def. Ahmed Mujtaba via disqualification (illegal strikes)
- Tiffany Teo def. Puja Tomar via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:07
- Mei Yamaguchi def. Gina Iniong via unanimous decision
PRELIMINARY CARD (Untelevised)
- Arnaud Lepont def. Richard Corminal via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 1, 3:16
- Muhammad Aiman def. Yang Fei via unanimous decision
- Miao Li Tao def. Sim Bunsrun via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:49