MMA Odds and Ends for Wednesday: Askren/Santos Set for a Second Time

Ben Askren 2Perhaps the world’s top welterweight outside of the UFC got his latest assignment recently, as ONE FC champion Ben Askren will be rematching his last opponent, Luis ‘Sapo’ Santos. The rescheduled bout is set for ONE FC 34 taking place in Singapore on November 13th. The first time Askren and Santos met, the bout resulted in a No Contest after an accidental eye poke just over two minutes into the first round. Askren was a heavy favorite — as usual — heading into that bout, with the closing line being -600 (bet $600 to win $100) on the champ, and +400 (bet $100 to win $400) on the challenger at 5Dimes Sportsbook. Granted, the first bout only lasted 2:19, but Santos found more success in stopping Askren’s takedowns than most fighters. Due to that, bettors may see a reduced price on Askren in the rematch. The situation is very similar to when Phil Davis and Wagner Prado fought twice back in 2013. Their first match ended as a No Contest following an accidental eye poke 88 seconds into the bout. Davis closed at -750 for that bout. For some reason, the betting public thought they saw something in the first fight which would lead to Prado winning the second, and the price on Davis was cut in half, closing at just -355 in a bout that he dominated and finished in the second round. While ‘Sapo’ is certainly a much more proven fighter than Prado was, I see a similar outcome here. Askren will set up his takedowns better this time around and drag the Brazilian to the mat. Once there, very few fighters are able to withstand the constant movement and offense the former Olympian puts out. Santos has been stopped in 6 of his 9 losses, and I think Askren likely adds another to that list with a second or third round TKO stoppage to retain his belt. Aside from the Askren announcement, it was a slow news day for MMA. Some fighters stared at each other in Australia, a pair of undercard bouts from WSOF 23 were changed due to injury, and the UFC announced it will be holding a card in London, England in early 2016. There were also a slew of reactions bout Nick Diaz’ suspension, but perhaps one of the more interesting nuggets from Tuesday was Joe Warren. Warren has a unique perspective on the topic, since a positive marijuana test derailed his chances of making the 2008 US Olympic team, and essentially kickstarted his MMA career. While most reactions have bemoaned the length of the suspension (or presence of a suspension at all for marijuana), Warren said that it could have been worse for Diaz if his infractions were under USADA jurisdiction where a third infraction often results in a lifetime ban. The former Bellator champ also said that regardless of personal opinions on the topic of marijuana, there is a rule that it can’t be in your system, and the commission is simply there to enforce rules. It will be fun to get back to fights this weekend, and a UFC card next weekend, because I can see this Diaz story getting very tiresome over the next few days.

Written by Brad Taschuk

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