Ben Askren’s final appearance for ONE Championship was flawless.
Unbeaten in MMA, the welterweight champion faced Japanese veteran Shinya Aoki in his retirement fight at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday. Aoki pulled guard seconds into the bout, but Askren picked him up from the ground and slammed him back down.
Askren went into Aoki’s guard and immediately rocked him with a right hand, and kept landing shots until Aoki turned and the referee called it at the 57-second mark.
Amir Khan and Adrian Pang put on an exciting contest in the co-main event. With a big reach advantage, Khan landed dozens of kicks to the body and oblique area, while Pang tried to close the distance and attack with punches as he tried to clinch.
In the final round, Pang dropped his hands and showboated close to the cage, using only his head movement to escape from Khan’s attacks — but eating some punches in the process. Khan hurt Pang shortly after with a head kick, but Pang kept moving forward. In the end, Khan picked up a unanimous decision nod for his sixth straight victory.
Mei Yamaguchi, who was originally scheduled to fight Angela Lee for the ONE atomweight belt, took on Gina Iniong instead after the 115-lb champion suffered a scary car accident. In a rematch of their 2014 bout, Yamaguchi was able to avenge the split decision loss with an unanimous decision victory in Singapore.
Yamaguchi pulled guard twice in the first round, immediately sweeping Iniong to stay on top position and land good punches and elbows. Yamaguchi changed her strategy in the second round, taking Iniong down with a single leg. Yamaguchi came close to finishing the fight with an arm-triangle choke, but Iniong survived the scare.
Both fighters decided to stand and trade more in the third and final round, and Yamaguchi went for another takedown in the final minute to guarantee the victory.
In her post-fight interview, Yamaguchi asked for another chance against Lee, who was watching the fight cageside.
“Angela Lee, I need to revenge you too,” Yamaguchi said. "But don’t rush, because I know that you’re in an injury and I want her to take time, and I want to take time too. I want to come back to Singapore and challenge the belt.”
Singapore talents May Ooi and Tiffany Teo also impressed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, scoring first-round submissions over Vy Srey Khouch and Puja Tomar, respectively. Both fighters asked for title shots following their stoppage wins.
In the bantamweight division, UFC veteran Leandro Issa took on the dangerous Dae Hwan Kim, who had only lost once before in MMA, when he challenged ONE champion Bibiano Fernandes. Issa put on a grappling clinic for 15 minutes to improve to 2-0 in his second run under the ONE banner.