One door closes, and another opens for Justin Wetzell.
After falling short of making season 29 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Wetzell meets fellow bantamweight prospect Askar Aksar at LFA’s event on June 4. Cageside Press confirmed the bout with both fighters.
The 29-year-old is not getting a direct shot at the UFC, but instead is facing someone who previously signed with the promotion.
“This is my chance to take his spot,” Wetzell said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for me, the UFC signed him, so they are going to be watching his fights since his recent departure from the UFC.”
Justin Wetzell jumped on chance to fight Askar Askar
Wetzell immediately agreed to fight Askar when presented with the match-up, mostly because of his past credentials. Askar signed with the UFC in February after winning 11 of his 12 professional fights.
He stepped in on late notice against Cody Stamann, but was pulled from the card due to pre-fight medical abnormalities. He was released by the UFC on Feb. 9.
Wetzell is 6-1 and currently on a five-fight win streak. He is yet to fight a UFC veteran, which makes his fight with Askar all the more intriguing to him.
“They are going to be watching his [Askar] fights and that means eyes on me too,” Wetzell said. “If I beat this guy, it is going to put me in [The UFC].”
— Justin Wetzell (@JWetzellMMA) December 17, 2019
Askar is a two-time LFA veteran. He most recently defeated Kevin Wirth by unanimous decision at LFA 92 last October. He rebounded after suffering his first professional defeat, a first-round knockout to Saidyokub Kakharamonov at HFC 42 in February 2020.
Askar is a skilled striker with six of his wins coming by TKO/ knockout. The Palestinian is a pressure fighter and Wetzell welcomes the challenge.
“He likes to put his foot on the gas right away,” Wetzell said. “It’s either going to be a first-round finish or it is going to be a long drag-it-out decision.”
Worth the Wait
The Elevation Fight Team product never anticipated taking seven months off after his last bout. Although he spent most of his time trying out for “The Ultimate Fighter,” he recognizes the next move in his career.
With a win over Askar, Wetzell is confident the UFC will be unable to deny him. He plans to make his next fight worth the wait.
“I think about this [expletive] every single day and it’s something I’ve been chasing for 10 plus years,” Wetzell said. “I want it.”
LFA 109 takes place Friday, June 4 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The event airs live on UFC Fight Pass.