With less than two months to go before the UFC Fight Night 162 welterweight main event on ESPN+, which takes place Sat., Oct. 26, 2019, the world’s preeminent mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion brought 170-pound headliners, Demian Maia and Ben Askren, face-to-face for a special media day in Singapore.
Maia (27-9) is coming off back-to-back wins over Lyman Good and Anthony Rocco Martin following a string of consecutive defeats to some of the division’s top wrestlers. While he turns 42 in November, the Brazilian is still considered one of the best grapplers in the sport.
“It’s a challenge that I’ve never faced,” Maia told the press in attendance. “In all the fights, my opponents want to strike, avoid the takedowns, avoid grappling. So this will be interesting, and very curious about how we’ll train for it in camp. I carry the flag for Brazilian jiu jitsu, and he carries the flag for American wrestling.”
Askren (19-1, 1 NC) made his Octagon debut with a controversial win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 back in March, then got put out to pasture by Jorge Masvidal just a few months later. The 35 year-old Olympian needs a commanding performance if he hopes to remain in the division Top 10.
“It’s a great challenge, I also appreciate his grappling skills,” Askren said. “That’s a test I want, one I’m absolutely looking for. At no point in my career, have I said ‘Oh my gosh, this guy’s good at jiu jitsu’. I could recklessly go for takedowns because I wasn’t worried about submissions. It’s going to be a lot of fun figuring out this puzzle, putting the pieces together.”
Also announced for UFC Singapore is the heavyweight co-main event between Greg Hardy and Jarjis Danho, while Michael Johnson returns to lightweight against Stevie Ray. In addition, Sergei Pavlovich and Maurice Greene collide in 265-pound action.
Expect more UFC Singapore fight card announcements in the coming weeks.