Reigning, defending welterweight champion Ben Askren took on Luis Santos in the main event of ONE: "Valor of Champions" in Manila and was given a torrid time by the Brazilian before the bout came to a premature ending after an accidental eye poke midway through the opening round.
See the video replay here.
Askren was unable to complete any takedowns despite multiple attempts. On the occasions he did succeed in dragging Santos to the ground, the two-time NCAA Division-1 Wrestling Champion found himself on the bottom. His undefeated record seemed in danger until he finally secured a double leg but in the process of setting it up, the American appeared to thrust his fingers in the general direction of his opponent's face.
Referee Olivier Coste immediately halted the contest and gave Santos time to recover despite being completely unable to communicate with the Portugese speaking welterweight. After a lengthy interval, "Sapo" was still unable to continue and the fight was called a "no contest."
Afterward, a frustrated Askren accused Santos of "taking the easy way out" but there is no question that it was the Brazilian who got the better of the early exchanges. The champion's record is now 14-0-0-1 while the challenger is 61-9-1-1 and a rematch seems inevitable.
There was no controversy about the co-main event as Mark Striegl secured the twelfth submission win of his career at the expense of previously undefeated American Casey Suire. The Filipino dominated from start to finish and sunk in a rear-naked choke midway through the opening round which takes his record to 14-1, while his opponent drops to 5-1.
Bashir Ahmad (3-2) stepped up to face Amir Khan (3-1) at under a week's notice and had to travel halfway around the world but the Pakistani put in a brave performance before being stopped due to a cut. The Singaporean landed a perfectly timed elbow at the end of round two which caused the referee to call it off midway through the third.
Official results for ONE: "Valor of Champions."
Welterweight World Championship bout: Ben Askren vs Luis Santos (No Contest)
Bantamweight bout: Mark Striegl defeats Casey Suire by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:48 of Round 1
Catchweight bout (57.1kg): Anatpong Bunrad defeats Geje Eustaquio by Split Decision
Flyweight bout: Eugene Toquero defeats Brianata Rosadhi by TKO (Strikes) at 3:41 of Round 1
Featherweight bout: Edward Kelly defeats Jimmy Yabo by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:05 of Round 1
Catchweight bout (68kg): Amir Khan defeats Bashir Ahmad by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 3:20 of Round 2
Flyweight bout: Liu Xiao Yang defeats Nicholas Lee by Knockout at 1:59 of Round 1
Featherweight bout: Wang Ya Wei defeats Sunoto by TKO (Strikes) at 1:21 of Round 3
In case you missed the action log on to www.onefc.com/livestream for the full replay of the fights at only US $9.99.