MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of the Triller Fight Club boxing card between YouTuber Jake Paul and former UFC and Bellator fighter Ben Askren. The card takes place on Saturday, April 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Nick Kalikas of Circa Sports notes that the sportsbook is currently taking $10K standard limits on the fight and more on request. Circa Sports currently has Paul listed as a -160 betting favorite (bet $160 to win $100) and Askren is a +140 betting underdog (bet $100 to win $140).
Jake Paul (-160)
Paul (2-0) is a YouTuber-turned-boxer who has turned heads with his first two performances in the boxing ring. Just 24 years old, Paul transitioned into boxing last year and so far he has looked tremendous with two knockout wins over Nate Robinson and AnEsonGib. Paul is a great athlete and at 6’1″ and with a 76″ reach, he is long and tall for his 189lbs frame. It looks like he is a quick learner and a bit of a natural when it comes to boxing. It’s true that Paul hasn’t fought anyone good yet, but from what we’ve seen, he looked pretty damn good. He will be tested more by Askren, but the oddsmakers still have him set as a slight favorite due to his previous performances and youth.
Ben Askren (+140)
Askren (0-0) is the former Bellator welterweight champion and UFC and ONE Championship star. The 36-year-old American is a former Olympic wrestler and he made a career out of using his grappling to dominate his opponents. During his MMA career, he was one of the top wrestlers in the sport. But in 2019 he retired from MMA due to a hip injury. Now that he’s had surgery and is feeling better physically, Askren decided to come back for one last payday in boxing. Considering he’s making a guaranteed $500,000 you can’t blame him for taking the fight. But that being said, we still have no idea how good his boxing is. One would hope that Askren’s boxing has really sharpened up training with Freddie Roach recently and with Duke Roufus, but we have no idea. What we do know is that Askren is super tough, has good cardio, and has a fight IQ. But will his chin hold up?
Boxing Breakdown: From a pure boxing perspective, you would have to give Paul the edges just because we have actually seen him step into the boxing ring before. In his fights with Nate Robinson and AnEsonGib, Paul showed a good, long jab and a ton of power with his hooks. That’s pretty much all we can take away from those fights since he didn’t really get tested and didn’t go past the second round. I have a lot of question marks about Paul including his chin and his cardio, as well.
The thing is, I have even more question marks about Askren. He hasn’t fought since 2019 in combat sports and this is his very first boxing match. Coming off that layoff at age 36 and having his chin checked by Jorge Masvidal just two years ago, I have question marks about his durability. Askren will not go down easily in this fight, but from what I’ve seen of his striking, he leaves his hands low. Given Paul is the taller, longer man with more power, I feel like he can take advantage of that.
This is a tough fight to predict what happens just due to all the unknowns. However, just because we’ve actually seen Paul compete in boxing, I think he’s the lean here. He’s also the younger fighter, the taller fighter, and the longer fighter. If I had to put my money on someone, it would be on Paul.