Undefeated UFC debutant Ben Askren survives massive slam in controversial UFC 235 win
Ben Askren's UFC debut against former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler was a quick one, but the world-class wrestler suffered as much damage as he has in his entire career before clinching a contentious submission victory.
Former Olympic wrestler Askren joined the UFC last year after a historic 'trade' with ONE Championship, which saw Demetrious Johnson move in the opposite direction. Much as he promised before the fight, Askren pushed forward from the opening bell.
Unlike his previous place of employment, the man meeting him in the center of the cage this time around was the notoriously hard-nosed former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, who cut an image of blazing intensity during the pre-fight pageantry.
Barely 10 seconds into the fight, an Askren takedown attempt was seized by Lawler, who hoisted him into the air over his shoulder and drove him head-and-shoulder first into the mat.
Askren admitted after the fight that the slam left him dazed and, if that was the case, the barrage of punches which followed swiftly after can't have helped much either.
Lawler sat astride the world-class wrestler, delivering several thudding blows to Askren's head, opening more than one cut in the process. Ever tough, though, the undefeated Askren rallied to his feet and initiated an offense of his own.
Employing his top grappling prowess, Askren worked to a bulldog choke position – one which constricts arterial flow to the brain – and when Lawler's arm appeared to go limp, referee Herb Dean stopped the bout.
With Askren wheeling away in celebration, the defeated Lawler immediately rose to his feet and protested over the stoppage, a moment which will certainly draw scrutiny in the coming days but it is Lawler's slam – and Askren's accompanying toughness – which will be this fight's more enduring memory.
Well how much fun was that!— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) March 3, 2019