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What’s next for Ben Askren following submission loss to Demian Maia at UFC Singapore?

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC Fight Night 162 blew the roof off Singapore Indoor Stadium last Saturday (Oct. 24, 2019) in Kallang, Singapore. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Frank Camacho, who was choked out by Beneil Dariush in the very first round.

And Michael Johnson, who suffered his second straight defeat, this time coming up short against Stevie Ray in a controversial decision loss. But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now 48 hours removed from the show?

Ben Askren.

Coming into his headlining bout against Demian Maia, “Funky” was looking to get back into the win column after suffering the first loss of his pro mixed martial arts (MMA) career to Jorge Masvidal via five-second knockout at UFC 239.

He also wanted bragging rights over Maia, the man many consider the best grappler in the game today. Defeating the Brazilian, in essence, would kill two birds with one stone. Much to everyone’s surprise, the fight was played out on the feet early on, with both men looking to land some shots to prove they are more than just a submission guy and a wrestler.

While the striking wasn’t the prettiest, it was effective for Ben, who landed some shots on Maia to bloody him up. Not one to back down, Demian got in a couple of good licks, as well. Once it got into the clinch and on the ground, that’s where things really got interesting.

Both combatants showed why they are two of the best in that area, as the transitions on the ground were smooth and effortless. It was a pretty even bout up until Maia saw the opportunity to finally take Ben’s back, which enabled him to sink in his ever-dangerous rear-naked choke.

From the outside looking in, it didn’t seem as if Maia had it on tight, as he didn’t have both arms fully secured. But when you are at the level of Maia, all he needs is a good grip to put you to sleep, which is what he did to Ben, who had to tap before taking a nap.

The loss is Askren’s second straight, bringing his UFC record to 1-2. Furthermore, his lone win inside the Octagon — a submission win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 — was highly-controversial.

Nevertheless, Askren’s run so far inside the eight-sided cage has been pretty rocky to say the least, which puts him in a tough spot moving forward. The 170-pound division is as tough and stacked as it gets, so anyone he gets next will be a tough draw.

Askren, though, once again took the loss well and gave props to Maia.

“There’s a reason why he’s the best grappler in the division, possibly in MMA history,” said Askren after the loss. “Made a bad decision and I failed. Sorry to everyone who I let down.

As for who he should fight next, call me crazy, but I’d like to see the Lawler rematch now. Many were expecting it to happen immediately, but Dana White decided to move on. Both “Ruthless” and “Funky” have lost since then, so let’s book the do-over now before even more times goes by.

Unless you have a better idea?

For complete UFC Singapore results and coverage click here.

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