ONE Championship 65 results: Ben Askren stops Shinya Aoki with 57-second TKO in retirement fight

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

Leandro Issa (15-6) didn’t get the first-round kimura submission he’d predicted, but he didn’t exactly struggle against Dae Hwan Kim (12-2-1), either.

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)

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

For more on ONE Championship 65, visit the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

5-fight UFC vet Leandro Issa explains why he's glad to be back in ONE Championship

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When Leandro Issa steps in the cage in Macau on Saturday, it will be for the first time in nearly a year.

It also will be for the first time for ONE Championship in more than four years. In the time since he most recently fought for the promotion, way back at ONE Championship 8 in 2013, Issa was busy – just not busy enough.

The Brazilian, based in Asia for nearly a decade, fought five times under the UFC banner, going 2-3. But he said the frequency of his fights in the world’s preeminent promotion was not up to his standards – which is why he’s glad to be back for ONE Championship.

“Fighting in the UFC was my dream,” Issa told MMAjunkie. “I had a great experience there. I lost some and I won some. But in the last two years there, I wasn’t too happy. They only booked me once a year. I was training, never hurt, always asking to fight. I only had two fights in the last two years. It’s bad for a fighter’s career.

“It was great to fight in the greatest promotion in the world, and to fight in Brazil and in Las Vegas, which were also dreams of mine. But now I feel happy to be back at ONE Championship.”

Issa (13-6) on Saturday takes on Toni Tauru (11-5-1) in a bantamweight bout at “ONE Championship 58: Kings & Conquerors,” which takes place at Cotai Arena in Macau, China. The card streams via online pay-per-view in North America.

Issa’s tenure in the UFC started out strong enough. He fought three times for the promotion in 2014, including back-to-back submission wins. But after he tapped Yuta Sasaki at UFC Fight Night 58 in December 2014, he waited till August 2015 for a fight against Iuri Alcantara at UFC 190 in Brazil. Then he waited another 13 months to fight Taylor Lapilus at UFC Fight Night 93. He lost both those final two by decision.

Now he’s had another lengthy time on the shelf – 11 months ahead of the fight with Tauru. It hasn’t been for lack of trying to get booked, though, and the result is his meeting with Tauru, a Finnish fighter who has dropped four of his past five fights.

Issa lives in Singapore and teaches jiu-jitsu at Evolve MMA – where he said he trains with 10 Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts. It’s not exactly a home game for him in Macau, but he expects plenty of support from the Asian MMA fans.

“My preparation has been great,” Issa said. “His strong point is jiu-jitsu; so is mine. So I feel it will be a great fight. I’ve been training a lot of muay Thai. … I’m very focused on this fight. Hopefully I can fight one more time this year. Ultimately, my goal is the championship belt, but we’re taking it one step at a time.”

For more on ONE Championship 58, check out the MMA Rumorssection of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie