UFC Fight Night 162: Main Event Preview
Singapore will host the 162nd iteration of Fight Night. Fight fans are going to pack the house at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on October 26th to see a loaded fight card.
Main Event Demian Maia vs. Ben Askren
Ben Askren’s move over to the UFC was the talk of the town. Everyone was excited to see him dominate with his wrestling over in UFC land. But since his arrival, he’s had a questionable win over Robbie Lawler and then became a world-record holder for ‘guy knocked out the quickest’ in UFC history. Some might find it surprising that Ben Askren has opened on the UFC Odds boards as the -165 favorite.
Now he has a chance at redemption against the 27-9, 41-year-old Demian Maia. Although Demian Maia is a tad taller, Ben Askren has a bit of reach advantage. Though neither stat is so much so that it should be of any particular advantage.
Maia is coming off of back to back wins. He got a first-round submission on Lyman Good at Fight Night 144 and then a third-round decision over Anthony Rocco Martin. He’s coming off two solid wins, but at 41, Demian Maia is by no means ‘peaking’. He is a tough veteran at the end of a long combat sports career. At 35, Ben Askren is no spring chicken, but six years in the fight game is a long time. The competitive spirit resides fully in all of these fighters, but this is a situation where Askren seems to have more to lose. The former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion recently stated that if he doesn’t win this one, he ‘might be in trouble.’
“But man, if I don’t win this fight, I’m knocked way, way, way down the rung. So I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’m gonna go in there and mix it up, and then after that, we’ll have to see where it goes.” – Ben Askren
One thing to note is that Maia has lost some key fights to highly-skilled wrestlers. Tyron Woodley, Kamaru Usman, and Colby Covington all have high-levels of wrestling, and all of them beat Demian Maia. One of the critical differences between a guy like Askren, and say, Usman, is Ben just doesn’t have any striking to speak of. Sure, he can punch but his stand up game is almost nil. He needs to get his opponents into a difficult to defend ground and pound situation. On the other hand, Ben Askren is the best wrestler that Maia has ever faced.
So what will win out, a 4th degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, or Olympic wrestler? It’s an interesting matchup due to Askren’s minimal striking capability. It’s also interesting that a 4th-degree black belt struggles so much against wrestlers. Especially since he is an ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship winner.
“His only three losses at 170 are Colby, ‘Marty’ (Usman) and Tyron. Those are all three pretty solid wrestlers. So he does struggle against the best level wrestler. Against other people, he’s really able to impose his will. And so obviously when you look at that recipe, I think that’s something that favors me.” – Ben Askren
We’ll have to wait and see who’ll win. But I believe that Ben Askren’s back is against the wall here. And just like we see in nature, even the most docile of creatures will scrap to the death when cornered.