Ben Askren Concedes Douglas Lima Is “Dangerous”, But Believes He’s Getting “More Credit Than He May Deserve”
By FCF Staff
When Ben Askren returns to action this Friday for the first time in nearly six months, the Bellator Welterweight Champion will do so for one of the promotion’s most compelling and biggest fights in recent memory. On April 6th, Askren will take on another rising star in Douglas Lima, who won the last Bellator welterweight tourney and extended his win streak to nine to entrench a bout with the undefeated champ.
“Definitely. I think it was one of the biggest fights Bellator’s ever had,” Askren told FCF, when asked if he’s felt any extra hype surrounding the upcoming bout. “I think Bellator is really starting to make a name for itself now that they’ve been around for six seasons.”
“Honestly I think the Eddie Alvarez, Michael Chandler fight was the biggest one they’ve had,” Askren added. “But I think this one can come close in matching the amount of hype that one got.”
Of course, not only has Lima garnered attention due his recent winning streak, but his knockout wins over Chris Lozano and Ben Saunders are in particular, what really turned heads throughout the MMA world.
“I think he’s dangerous,” Askren said about his next opponent. “I don’t think in any of his three Bellator fights he was overly dominating by any means, but in his last two fights he landed that big punch to end the fight. So that’s something I have to watch out for, but I think because those big punches landed a lot of people are giving him more credit than he may deserve.”
When FCF spoke with Lima recently, however, the feared striker conceded that his jiu-jitsu would likely play a key role in his bout with Askren, on account of his opponent’s world class wrestling abilities.
“Most definitely,” said Askren, when asked if he believes he can dominate the Bellator 64 bout on the mat. “He’s a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and so am I. I’ve rolled with some of the best guys in the world and I’m very comfortable. Then when you add in that there’s no shirt in the fight, and that you can punch also, that really plays into my favor.”
“Additionally, I’m very hard to get off from top control,” the former Olympic wrestler furthered. “Once I get on top I stay there. I haven’t been swept in any of my fights and I spent a lot of time there. Obviously he’s going to have better jiu-jitsu than anyone I’ve fought so far, but I think I can win the fight from there for sure.”
While Askren’s wrestling and grappling abilities are pivotal reasons as to why he has gone 9-0 to begin his MMA career, the 27 year-old-fighter continues to work on his striking game at the renowned Rofusport facility.
“I think it would be stupid of me to try to stand with him early, especially when he’s fresh, as he’s already show his punching power,” said Askren. “Taking him down early would be wise but my striking is getting so much better. As the fight wears on, and he tires out, I think I could start winning more of the exchanges.”
While Askren was quick to acknowledge the magnitude of his upcoming bout with Lima, he is coming off a unanimous decision win over the highly regarded veteran Jay Hieron, who hadn’t lost a fight since 2007.
“I can still say my performance wasn’t very good,” Askren said, while discussing his most recent win. “The thing I was most disappointed with was in the gym my striking was so much better than in the fight. In the fight I was just throwing one, twos, and usually I’m much more diverse.”