It looks as if a dance spouse in the end took Ben Askren’s hand for his UFC debut.
In step with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, a bout between Askren and previous UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler is within the works for Jan. 26’s UFC 233 card in Anaheim. “Within the works” is simply code for “Howdy, each events agreed, and this is going on, however all of the forms is not fairly accomplished but and we need to quilt our asses in case one thing is going incorrect on the 11th Hour.”
In different phrases, it is going down.
Breaking: Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler focused for UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, in keeping with Dana White. Contracts don’t seem to be signed but from what I am instructed, however UFC is operating on getting it finalized. Tale up quickly on @ESPN.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 6, 2018
It is a atypical matchup on such a lot of ranges.
Askren’s arrival to the UFC generated pleasure for days in MMA communities and on social media. It used to be all folks may discuss. Who will he battle? How will he do? He mentioned what?!
The previous Bellator and ONE Championship king got here into the UFC firing, calling out everybody from Darren Until to Nate Diaz to Colby Covington to Khabib Nurmagomedov to Stephen Thompson within the procedure.
Askren’s message used to be transparent: I simply need to battle one of those guys. I am able.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 3, 2018
So, simply as everybody anticipated, the UFC offers Askren the only man he did not name out and the only man just about no fighter within the historical past of the game has pork with: Robbie Lawler.
In this on my own, I am at the fence with the matchup. Askren is an outstanding trash talker. Pairing him with any person who now not simplest does not communicate trash however who may not say a lot of the rest earlier than, throughout, or after the battle seems like a waste of one among Askren’s major abilities.
You simplest debut as soon as. Why now not give fanatics the total Ben Askren Display?
Let’s get rid of this side regardless that. OK, the battle would possibly now not draw rabid pastime like Askren vs. Until or Askren vs. Diaz would. Possibly there may be minimum trash communicate.
It is nonetheless a super matchup, proper?
I imply… now not actually.
For his occupation, Lawler boasts a 69 p.c takedown protection. It isn’t unhealthy, and he is proven moments or brilliance in protecting takedowns, however whilst you dig into it, Rory MacDonald took him down 4 occasions. Johny Hendricks took him down seven occasions of their two bouts blended. Donald Cerrone were given him down as soon as.
In his closing bout, Lawler used to be grounded two times via Rafael dos Anjos, a battle during which he additionally blew out his knee and dropped a unanimous choice.
Lawler is 36, he is 1-2 in his closing 3, and he is coming off a significant surgical procedure—and the totality of that marks the most important drawback I’ve with this battle.
If Askren beats Lawler, will any one even care?
Will it end up what Askren has sought after goodbye to end up—that he can grasp with the elite-level opponents within the UFC?
It may not. If Askren beats Lawler, the narrative will probably be, “Smartly, Robbie is finished. All of us knew that anyway.” True or now not, you simply know that is the perspective fanatics will take.
And that can do little to arrange Askren’s subsequent battle. He will win, spin his wheels, and land proper the place he’s now—with bouts vs. Until, Diaz, and corporate looming.
A whole lot of welterweights respiring simple proper about now. Don’t concern your occasions will come! https://t.co/8xDJwIC7VZ
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 6, 2018
You’ll’t give him a identify shot with only one win over Lawler. And that’s the reason if he wins. Energy is among the closing issues to move, and Lawler is a juggernaut as soon as the cage door closes.
He wears just a little extra injury now, however Lawler remains to be a beast. He may annihilate Askren along with his aggression and his brute power, and it would not come as a lot of a marvel.
And if that occurs, what used to be the purpose of this Askren experiment? If you are now not going to make use of him as a top-level megastar and throw him into the marquee matchups that generate probably the most cash and probably the most pastime, why send away one of the most largest opponents of all time in Demetrious Johnson for him?
At the moment, Askren’s inventory is prime. He is the controversy of the city. He is undefeated. He is a multiple-promotion champion.
Pitting him towards Lawler feels unnecessarily bad with little upside for both guy.
You are both taking a legend like Lawler and feeding him to a valid wolf in Askren or you take a possible megastar within the making and blowing up his inventory earlier than he ever will get off the bottom.
Both approach, this bout perplexes, and now we will be able to simplest hope it isn’t indicative of ways Askren’s complete UFC run will probably be treated.