Ben Askren might have maintained his perfect mixed martial arts (MMA) record and defended the Bellator welterweight belt with the 10th consecutive win of his career over Douglas Lima recently, but it was a performance which didn't win him many fans and provoked a chorus of boos from the crowd.
Afterward, the former two-time NCAA division one champion and US Olympian wrestler was blunt with the audience, telling them that if they didn't want to see the ground game they should go and watch boxing. Ariel Helwani also accused him of being boring and was greeted with equally short shrift.
However, while Askren remains defiant, he is also looking to work on some of the weaker aspects of his game and word coming out of Singapore is that he is expected to spend an extended period of time training at Evolve MMA, possibly with a view to working on finishing fights after a run of six straight decision wins.
Askren's wrestling is world class and he has been working on his striking with Duke Roufus and holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). However, he remains primarily a wrestler and it is this base which he has relied upon for all of his recent wins.
If he wants to improve on his striking and submissions there is no better place to do it than Evolve MMA, which is home to no fewer than nine BJJ black belts and some of the most renowned Muay Thai trainers in the world including Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, Attachai Fairtex, Orono Wor Petchpun and Lamnamoon Sor Sumalee.
It is difficult to find stand up coaches with this level of experience anywhere in the US as most of the Thai legends at Evolve MMA have over 300 fights under their belt and many, like former WBA Super Featherweight Champion Yodsanan Sityodtong, are also accomplished boxers.
There are also a handful of BJJ world champions including Rafael 'Gordinho' Correa De Lima, Leandro Issa, Zorobabel Moreira and Alex Silva and while Askren is no slouch on the ground he will only benefit from rolling regularly with such decorated grapplers.
By the time Askren arrives Shinya Aoki will probably be enjoying some time off after his rematch with Eddie Alvarez while Rafael Dos Anjos will be in Brazil making final preparations to face Kamal Shalorus. He could still find himself training alongside Riki Fukuda and Jaideep Singh as both are currently at Evolve MMA with the Indian K-1 veteran looking to make his MMA debut later this year.
There are rumours of more Japanese fighters moving to Singapore to join the Evolve MMA fight team and Tatsuya Kiwajiri's name has been repeatedly linked. Another fighter who might well make the move is former K-1 Champion Buakaw Por Pramuk who is currently involved in a contractual dispute with his former camp.
Evolve MMA founder and owner Chatri Sityodtong was tight lipped when I emailed him for further info. He did confirm the rumour that Askren would be training in Singapore and said he would be arriving in a couple of weeks and that some other deals were 'in the pipeline'.
Rich Franklin will be returning to Evolve MMA for the second time this year and will be basing a fight camp outside of the US for the first time in his career. Him and trainer Matt Hume will both be working with the team in Singapore, which has been bolstered by the addition of Heath Sims since they last visited, as he prepares to return to middleweight to take on Cung Le at UFC 148.
Evolve MMA has a well established reputation as being the best training facility in Asia and with Fukuda, Singh Askren and Franklin among the many visiting fighters who will be working alongside the existing full time fight team 2012 looks set to be a busy year.