Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren goes down on April 17, 2021, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., and of course around the world via the wonders of Internet pay-per-view (PPV). If you’re looking for a quick catch up on this unusual MMA vs. boxing bout and how the heck we ended up here, then Combat Culture has you covered!
Watch the embedded video above to see what’s making this fight one of the hottest tickets in town.
Fans of mixed martial arts (MMA) will know Askren as one of the greatest trolls to participate in the sport — an NCAA Division 1 wrestler and Olympic team member who used his incredible grappling skills (and little else) to earn belts in Bellator and ONE Championship.
Paul may be a bit less of a known quantity, depending on your age group. One of the up and coming generation of social media influencers, Paul and his older brother Logan parlayed their millions of followers on Instagram and YouTube into lucrative combat sports careers. Logan Paul’s boxing PPV against fellow YouTuber KSI generated 1.3 million buys. Jake Paul was a part of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. PPV, which sold more than 1.6 million PPV units.
Now Jake is looking to step out from the shadows of Logan and Tyson to headline his own card. And for the first time, he’ll be facing a legitimate combat sports athlete in Ben Askren. The fact that he literally picked one of the weakest strikers of the sport’s modern era ... well, that just makes the whole thing a bit more interesting.
Here’s five facts about the Askren vs. Paul fight that you may not have known about:
- Askren has six TKOs on his MMA record, but has never earned a one-shot knockout.
- Askren did not land a single punch in his first two UFC fights. He landed 63 vs. Demian Maia but was outstruck 69-63.
- Paul started his professional boxing career (Jan. 30, 2020) after Ben Askren announced his retirement (Nov. 18, 2019).
- Paul was nine years old when Ben Askren won his first NCAA Division 1 championship vs. Jake Herbert.
- Askren’s average fight time is 10:07 (over 22 fights) vs. Jake Paul’s 3:21 (over two fights).
Askren is definitely enough of an athlete to challenge Paul, but the outcome is decidedly uncertain. Oddsmakers have the fight set with Paul the slight -170 favorite to Ben’s +140.
But for now let’s get deeper into the backstory on what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest PPVs of the year. Check out our Combat Culture breakdown laying out five things you didn’t know about Paul vs. Askren and just how the in the world we got here.