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Tag: Ben Askren

Interview: Ben Askren Vows to ‘Hammer Nick Thompson in Every Area of Fighting’

Ben Askren Ryan Thomas Bellator 14 MMA photos
(Funky Ben goes for the funky finish against Ryan Thomas at Bellator 14. Props: Fight! Magazine)

By Anton Gurevich

Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben “Funky” Askren will step inside the Bellator cage this Saturday, fighting MMA veteran Nick Thompson in the main event of the night. Askren won the Bellator Season Three Welterweight Tournament last year, defeating Dan Hornbuckle in the finals, then captured the Bellator Welterweight title from the hands of Lyman Good at Bellator 33.

“Funky” is 7-0 in his Mixed Martial Arts career, and is considered one of the most decorated wrestlers in the sport today. Askren was a two-time NCAA Division I Champion for the University of Missouri and a 74kg Freestyle Wrestling participant at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Here’s what Ben Askren had to say about his fight against Nick Thompson, the future of his career, and Jake Shields’s chances against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129. Bellator 40 will take place this Saturday, April 9th, at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The event will be aired LIVE on MTV2 at 9p/8c.

Your opponent, Nick Thompson, is a well-rounded fighter with a lot of submissions and KO victories on his record. What was the most important aspect of your preparations for this fight?
ASKREN: I just concentrated on getting myself better as a fighter. At this point in time, I know I have a lot of areas where I can improve, and I’m just working hard on closing some holes in my game. If I do that, give my best in training, the rest of the things will just take care of themselves during the fight. I’m fully prepared and ready to go. It’s just about going there and beating somebody up.

Continue reading on Lowkick.com/MMA

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Warriors on the Rise: 2010′s Breakout Fighters

Every year, a handful of MMA fighters ascend from obscurity to contendership, from prospect status to championship gold — from nothing to something. In honor of The Warrior’s Way, which hits theaters next Friday, we’d like to salute MMA’s breakout class of 2010, whose careers exploded this year, and who are all poised for even larger accomplishments in 2011.

PHIL DAVIS
Phil Davis UFC
Notable 2010 victories: Brian Stann (unanimous decision, UFC 109), Alexander Gustafsson (submission R1, UFC 112), Tim Boetsch (submission R2, UFC 123)

Between his pink shorts, action-figure physique, and aggressive grappling, Mr. Wonderful has become an unmistakable figure in the UFC’s light-heavyweight division. A year ago, he was a relatively unknown 4-0 prospect trying to re-invent himself as a cage-fighter after a brilliant collegiate wrestling career at Penn State, which culminated in a 2008 NCAA title. Davis made his Octagon debut this February, and has since sent four straight opponents back to the drawing board, beginning with former WEC champ Brian Stann, and ending with a Submission of the Night performance against Tim Boetsch. Having proven himself against gritty veterans and promising rookies, we’re about to find out if Davis can keep his dominant run going against the next level of UFC contenders.

COURT McGEE
Court McGee UFC Ultimate Fighter 11 TUF winner trophy glass
Notable 2010 victories: Kris McCray (submission R2, TUF 11 Finale), Ryan Jensen (submission R3, UFC 121)

Court McGee’s life is an object lesson in never, ever giving up, no matter how dire the circumstances. A former drug-addict who was declared clinically dead after an overdose in 2005, McGee got clean and devoted his life to MMA. His stint on The Ultimate Fighter 11 this year was almost cut short after he lost a bum decision to Nick Ring, but McGee re-entered the competition as an injury replacement, and went on to choke out James Hammortree, Brad Tavares, and Kris McCray to earn the season’s middleweight trophy. In his first post-TUF test at UFC 121, he survived getting bombed out on by Ryan Jensen in the first round, and turned the momentum around when Jensen began to fade in round two. In the end, Jensen was tapping like the rest of them, and Court McGee had secured his reputation as one of toughest (and most likable) bastards TUF has ever produced.

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Scott Coker Talks Co-Promotion and Negotiations with Fedor, But is Conspicuously Mum About CBS Negotiations


("CBS? They suck. I’m not sure I want to work with them anymore.")

During today’s Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu conference call, the promotion’s CEO Scott Coker touched on some pressing questions, but was noticeably mum on others.

"You’re going to see big things," Coker teased when speaking of the California-based promotion’s plans for next year, but he didn’t say whether or not a return to CBS is in Strikeforce’s stacked deck of cards. In an interview he did earlier this month with Sherdog, Coker said that a reputable TV deal would have to be in place for him to entertain a co-promotion deal with the promotions, which could be a telling sign that CBS has taken his number off of speed dial.

He did mentione Showtime when discussing the ongoing, yet unfruitful negotiations with Fedor Emelianenko’s M-1 Global management team, but didn’t give a clue about the status of Strikeforce’s relationship with CBS, which many assume is dead in the water thanks to the Team Cesar Gracie-Jason Miller brawl that took place during their last telecast in April.

"It’s been quite a long road here with the M-1 camp trying to get this done. I agree with [M-1 director of operations] Evgeni [Kogan] that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel," Coker explained. "We would welcome Fedor to have a long term deal with Strikeforce fighting on Showtime and we’re trying to get this done. It’s not done yet, there’s nothing signed. So really there’s nothing to announce."

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Eight MMA Fighters Who Desperately Need a Stoppage Victory

By CagePotato contributor Dan “siksik6” Teague

#8: Gray Maynard
Gray Maynard
When fans and fighters complain about wrestlers in MMA, they’re talking about Gray Maynard. He takes fighters down because that’s what he’s good at. In Maynard’s nine-fight UFC career, he has just one stoppage, a KO of Joe Veres over three years ago. He’s earned his title shot not because of his performances, but rather because what the hell else do you do with a guy who’s undefeated and has won eight straight fights, including one over the current champ? Cole Miller said it best: Taking people down should be a means to an end. Gray needs to start having some refs pull him off of people if he’s ever going to have any drawing power.

#7: Ben Askren
Ben Askren Bellator champion ring girls
Ben Askren is just starting to make his way into mainstream MMA discussions. However, it’s not exactly a heralded arrival. The kid makes picking strawberries look like it belongs in the X Games. His last “stoppage” was a controversial sub over Ryan Thomas, who promptly and correctly displayed his best WTFIYP face. Before that it was a north-south choke over some guy you’ve never heard of in some organization you’ve never heard of back in August of ’09. For his last fight, in which he won the Bellator welterweight strap, he came about as close to finishing Lyman Good as I did. I was on the couch eating Mayfield Butter Pecan ice cream. It was delicious. As a title holder for an up-and-coming organization, Askren needs to show more of a killer instinct if he ever wants his fights to be broadcast by anyone other than Fox Sports South.

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Bellator XXXIII Recap: Did He Just Say the Best in the World? (LOLZ)


(Skip to 1:19 for the money shot.)

By ReX “Keep Fear Alive” Richardson

Let’s say that you were in Philadelphia last night, perhaps wandering around looking for the Philadelphia Doll Museum. Maybe you heard that Pagano’s had better cheesesteak than any of those South Philly stands, or you wanted to check out the (allegedly) wild party scene at Temple University. Well, while you were standing there shoving a pound of cheap steak, fried onions, and Cheez Whiz in your face, you might have heard a dull roaring noise coming from the Liacouras Center. That was the sound of Bellator XXXIII. Maybe you forgot with all the excitement around UFC 121 this weekend, but Bellator’s third entertaining season is ending, and they are going out shooting, son.

Erstwhile welterweight champ Lyman Good returned after a sixteen month injury layoff to defend the strap against Ben Askren, rising star Rick Hawn made his debut, and local boy Eddie Alvarez took on a legitimate super fight against Roger “The White Knight” Huerta. If you just facepalmed because you forgot to set your DVR, relax; I got this. Follow me in after the jump, and I’ll recap the televised fights and possibly crack some jokes. Keep in mind that I make no guarantees of quality, but if you don’t read on, you’ll probably hate yourself when the cool kids in the cafeteria start talking about it. Keep it in mind.

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Friday Link Dump

(Video courtesy FlowWrestling)

- Aldo to test UFC LW waters soon according to Dana White (mmajunkie)

- Bustamante’s pro boxing debut (thegarv)

- The impossible puzzle (break)

- Magnetic lingerie (mademan)

- Need a better seat at a sporting event? Buy a wheelchair (tuvez)

- 25 clowns you wouldn’t hire (holytaco)

- Bisping could face Marquardt or Okami if he beats Akiyama (fightersonly)

 - Overeem may take five months off after the K-1 GP (fightlinker)

- Trademarked phrases that shouldn’t be (modernman)

- Jackass guys talk favorite stunts (screenjunkies)

- Miesha Tate doesn’t like Tara Larosa (middleeasy)

- UFC 120 weigh-in recap (mmafighting)

- DV hotties in the wild (doubleviking)

- MMA is big now, but it continues to grow (scoresreport)

- Ultimate Fighter infographic (totalprosports)

- Akiyama pre-fight UFC 120 interview (versus)

- Lots can go wrong shooting a sex tape (nothingtoxic)

- Hardy may want Penn, Hughes or Lytle after Condit (bleacherreport)

- Dos Santos breaks down Lesnar-Velasquez (tatame)

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Bellator XXII: Tappin’ Out Is For B!tches


(The Jose Vega vs. Jarrod Card knockout. Props: YouTube.com/BellatorMMA)

By DL “Low Blow” Richardson

Bellator XXII returned to the Kansas City Power and Light District last night, in the penultimate show of the second season. The welterweight tournament finals were the main event, but “Boring” “Funky” Ben Askren was part of that matchup, so those nice folks at Bellator tried to put on a good ol’ fashioned, bread and circuses, action packed kind of card. Most of the fighters had an invite to one of next season’s tournaments — conditional upon their performance in KC, MO. What we got was one KTFO, one technical submission, one tap to strikes like a pussy, and…wait, wait, wait, let me start from the beginning. After the jump, allow me to thrill you with my account of the action. And maybe apologize for my can’t miss predictions

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Reminder: Bellator 22 Goes Down Tonight in Kansas City

Ben Askren Dan Hornbuckle Bellator
(Cartoonishly large chin or dreamcatcher tattoo — WHO YA GOT?)

That strange mini-event at the Nokia Theatre was just the beginning of this wild week of MMA. Set your DVRs, folks, because Bellator returns to the Kansas City Power & Light District tonight for the finals of their season 2 welterweight tournament (FOX Sports Net, 8 p.m. CST). Fighting for a shot at 170-pound champ Lyman Good are Dan Hornbuckle — who scored first-round submissions over Tyler Stinson and Steve Carl to reach the finals — and Ben Askren, who had to defeat Ryan Thomas twice due to a bizarre series of events. Elsewhere on the card…

Stephanie Frausto (2-1), the sister of Strikeforce vet Zoila Frausto, makes her Bellator debut against Lisa Ward (12-5) in a 115-pound clash. Frausto has only been fighting professionally since January. Video of her pro debut (against a girl who kind of looks like Nate Diaz) is after the jump.

– Cole Konrad (3-0), the Brock Lesnar training partner who impressed nobody with his physique and cardio at Bellator 17, returns against John Orr (5-4). For some reason, Konrad is as high as a -1500 favorite against Orr. Do the oddsmakers know something we don’t? If you check out some of Orr’s fights, you’ll see that he’s definitely raw, but not completely inept.

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Bellator XIX Recap: Bitches Don’t Know About My Welterweight Semifinals


(The ending of Hornbuckle vs. Carl. Props: YouTube.com/BellatorMMA)

By DL “Bellat-Whore” Richardson

Chances are that if you watch Bellator, you’re going to see something new. Unless you’re Jordan Breen, you’re probably going to see a fighter or two you haven’t watched before. You may see something silly, like Matt Major’s sweet man-panties at Bellator XVI. Or it may be something exciting, like a 360 degree spinning guard pass and punch from Ryan Thomas at Bellator XV. This is part of the excitement of watching a Bellator event: the joy of discovery that many MMA fans just don’t get very often these days. Sure, we may be surprised by the results of fights — that’s why they have gambling on MMA — but most of us have a rough idea of what to expect when we sit down to a Pay Per View. Not so with the BFC. Bjorn Rebney has managed to catch lightening in a bottle, putting on interesting cards on a weekly basis with up-and-coming talent that deserves the exposure.

Bellator XIX went down in Grand Prairie, Texas last night, with the welterweight tournament semifinals and a featherweight SuperFight on tap. Results after the jump. Also, a concise explanation as to why they call it “the jump.”

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Volcanic Ash Gives Ryan Thomas Second Shot at Bellator Welterweight Tourney


(The choke in question goes down around 2:40.)

Ben Askren‘s technical submission win over UFC vet Ryan Thomas at Bellator XIV drew some controversy last week, as referee Dave Smith called a halt to the welterweight quarterfinal when it appeared that Thomas had been put out by a guillotine choke — then caught an earful from Thomas who didn’t seem to be unconscious after all. In the ref’s defense, when a guy is caught in a nasty choke and isn’t moving his arms and legs around, and isn’t responding to your questions, you have to assume that he might be sleeping. But regardless of what would have happened if the fight was allowed to continue, Ryan Thomas was bounced out of Bellator’s 170-pound tournament just as quickly as he arrived.

And this Thursday, he’ll get a chance to redeem himself. Bellator sent out a press release last night announcing that due to the apocalyptic ash cloud floating above Europe, welterweight GP participant "Judo" Jim Wallhead will be unable to travel from England to the Bellator XV show in Uncasville, Connecticut. Said Bjorn Rebney

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