Masvidal vs Askren Could Be Set For UFC 239
By Ross Markey
A mouth-watering clash between two welterweight contenders is expected to take place at UFC 239 on July 6th. as Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal has verbally agreed to meet with undefeated wrestling ace ‘Funky’ Ben Askren.
American Top Team mainstay Masvidal returned to the win column in the UFC’s recent trip to London, scoring a vicious second round knockout of hometown hero Darren Till, while former ONE FC lightweight best Askren survived an early ground assault from one time division champion Robbie Lawler, to pick up a debut Bulldog choke win, albeit contentious.
Amassing a huge following after his underdog victory over Liverpudlian Till, and subsequent backstage altercation with fellow 170lbs contender Leon Edwards, ‘Gamebred’ may be just one win away from his premier Octagon title challenge. Moving to #4 in the stacked welterweight division after the devastating stoppage, Jorge firmly set his sights on the upper echelon contenders at 170lbs, with a firm eye on the entertaining Askren.
Recovering from some personal issues in between his loss to Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, a confident, sharp and always durable Masvidal turned out at the O2 Arena to steal the show with a wicked combination. Jorge had his hands full it has to be noted when he was paired with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert Demian Maia in their title eliminator, getting ‘backpacked’ for the majority of the three round affair, and faces another adapt grappler in ‘Funky’ Ben.
With eye catching wins in both ONE FC and Bellator MMA, Olympic wrestling team member Ben Askren made the eventual and long overdue leap to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in November when a trade between the UFC and ONE FC was executed, which seen former flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson bring his talent to Signapore.
Making his promotional debut in a tough premier appearance against Robbie Lawler, Askren was dumped on his head after a failed shoot in the opening seconds, eating some nasty shots from ‘Ruthless’, which opened a significant cut. Adapting brilliantly to clinch against the fence, Askren managed to sneak a Bulldog choke on the veteran who momentarily seemed to go limp, with Herb Dean peeling Askren off, only for Lawler to signal that he hadn’t tapped nor lost consciousness. Askren’s striking is rudimentary compared to Jorge, who is regarded as one of the most consummate boxers on the roster.
UFC 239 takes place on July 6th. during International Fight Week, with a main event light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and surging contender Thiago Santos confirmed, as well as a bantamweight title pairing between two weight gold holder Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm, with the Jackson-Wink trainee receiving her fourth title shot. Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold also makes his long rumoured 205lbs inauguration against the heavy hitting Jan Blachowicz on the card.
(Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)