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Luis Santos cleared to train, expects September return against Ben Askren


Ben Askren’s first title defense at ONE Championship ended in a no-contest after "Funky" poked Luis Santos in the eye in the first round, and the rematch is on the way.

Santos, who had his right cornea scratched by Askren, recently returned to training at American Top Team, and expects to be back in action in a rematch with Askren this fall.

"I think it’s going to be in September," Santos told "I don’t know exactly when, but my manager said September. My eye is fine. I had a good treatment. I’m already back to training. I’m training normally."

Right after the fight, "Sapo" said he "dominated (Askren) in the fight" and that his victory was "just delayed". Two months after the controversial bout in Manila, Santos promises to become a better fighter for the rematch.

"I can’t know what to expect, but I’m getting better and better," he said. "I want to be stronger this time."

"Sapo" (61-9-1, 1 no-contest) earned a shot at the title after seven straight finishes, six in the first round. In his promotional debut in Singapore, the Brazilian welterweight dispatched Bakhtiyar Abbasov in 53 seconds.

Unbeaten in MMA, Askren (14-0, 1 no-contest) reigned supreme in Bellator with nine wins and four title defenses, and became the ONE Championship 170-pound titleholder with a first-round win over Nobutatsu Suzuki in August.

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