The UFC Singapore main event appears set, as Ben Askren has confirmed he will face Demian Maia in Kallang this October.
After returning from orbit following a Jorge Masvidal flying knee, Ben Askren has his next trip to the octagon lined up. Confirming a long-rumored match-up, Askren (19-1, 1NC) himself revealed on social media Tuesday that he would face Demian Maia (27-9) at UFC Singapore. The fight will see two of MMA’s best grapplers go head-to-head, with Askren’s wrestling skills up against Maia’s jiu-jitsu prowess.
In other words, it’s highly unlikely anyone will be throwing a flying knee in this one.
Askren, a former Bellator MMA and ONE Championship title holder, joined the UFC late last year, and made his debut in March, defeating Robbie Lawler in a highly controversial submission. ‘Funky’ had been retired to that point, but the UFC opted to send Demetrious Johnson overseas in a “trade” in exchange for his services. Following the Lawler win, Askren went up against Masvidal at UFC 239 last month. No explanation necessary as to what went wrong there.
Maia has twice fought for a title in the UFC, coming up short in both occasions. His middleweight shot against Anderson Silva at UFC 112 in 2010 might be better remembered, but gaining a second chance, in a second weight class, against then-welterweight champ Tyron Woodley was no small feat. Losing to Woodley in 2017, Maia was about as far from the title picture as one could get. However, the 41-year old has won two straight, against Lyman Good and Anthony Rocco Martin.
A third win, against an opponent the caliber of Askren, might actually leave him as an outlier in the title picture at 170lbs.
UFC Singapore (UFC Fight Night 162 / UFC on ESPN+ 20) takes place October 26, 2019 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. Askren vs. Maia is expected to headline the event, which should go over well with the local crowd, as Askren competed in Kallang three times while competing for ONE Championship.