A week after UFC 235 and the controversial Robbie Lawler stoppage, former Bellator and ONE championship contender, Ben Askren, continues to defend his victory against the “Ruthless.” Following his major cross-entity trade from ONE to the UFC, Askren stepped into his debut for the promotion as a respectable favorite over Lawler. Having suffered no losses all through his championship run at ONE, Askren proved his mettle in round number one, having survived being taken to the cleaners by an initially dominant Robbie Lawler.
From the outset of the bout, it seemed as though Robbie Lawler would go on to clinically outclass Ben Askren by banking on his superior overall Octagon-experience. But, as the fight progressed slightly over the three-minute mark, Ben Askren trapped Lawler with a perfectly clinched ‘bulldog choke.’ Moments into the submission, Lawler’s arm appeared to go limp, further persuading referee in charge, Herb Dean, to call an immediate stop to the fight. However, on closer observation, it was learned that Lawler, had in fact, not lost consciousness.
Days after the disputable result of the fight, Ben Askren seems satisfied with his victory over Lawler, and justified saying:
“Obviously the contest didn’t go the way I wanted to, although the outcome was great. Controversy creates cash obviously. To me there was no controversy. I got beat up for a little bit, got put in a really bad position, I came out of it and I was able to finish him.”
Furthermore, Askren admitted to securing a fully-locked submission choke, which he believed would leave Lawler devoid of any possible escape route. In Askren’s defense, most onlookers of the event including color commentators – Joe Rogan, Dominick Cruz, and Jon Anik, would confess to witnessing Robbie Lawler’s arm go into a limp during the unfortunate incident. In light of this, Askren maintained:
“So, number one, I do think he passed out for a little bit. Number two, there was just no escape,” Askren stated. “There was 1:40 left, he was not getting out of that hold in no way, shape or form. It was sunk deep, it was sunk tight and there was just literally nowhere for him to go.”