Ben Askren's next fight is booked for Manila. The former Bellator MMA champ will be defending his welterweight strap against Nikolay Aleksakhin at ONE: "Global Rivals" on April 15th.
The event is set for the SM Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippines will become the fifth different country to host a ONE Championship card in 2016.
ONE CEO Victor Cui says he is excited to be back in Manila.
"We’re always excited for Manila because Filipino fans are so passionate about mixed martial arts that everything just comes naturally! The atmosphere and the excitement in Manila on fight night is truly unparalleled and we anticipate the same when we arrive in April. We have an excellent matchup prepared for fight fans as Ben Askren meets Nikolay Aleksakhin, and we expect nothing less than the absolute best in world-class mixed martial arts action."
Askren (14-0-0-1) is coming off a no-contest against Luis Santos. The rematch was cancelled at the last minute when the Brazilian missed weight, meaning that the reigning ONE welterweight champion has only fought once in the last 18 months.
His opponent has been much more active and Aleksakhin (16-3) is currently riding a six-fight winning streak that included a submission victory over Mongolian welterweight Burenzorig Batmunkh in his ONE Championship debut last November.
Under ONE Championship's new regulations both fighters will be required to prove that they weigh 185 pounds or less over the course of a series of checks.