It was a weekend of debauchery and mayhem. People got a choice; a spectacular MMA bout between two giants in the sport and a complete inbred boxing catastrophe between two non-boxing trash talkers. If that wasn’t crazy enough, we had a scheduled fight end via TKO….at the weigh-ins. Join us as we inch closer and closer to the eventual heat death of the universe in this, the latest edition of the Aces BJJ News Roundup!
A crazy time to be sure.
Today we’ll cover the recent Askren/Paul boxing event on Triller, the Stephens/Klose face-off assault, and the diamond in the rough that was the Gastelum/Wittaker bout. So let’s jump right into it, gang!
Jake Paul TKO’s Ben Askren
In news that sent bookies and gamblers running for the hills, underdog e-celeb Jake Paul put former ONE FC champ and Olympic Wrestler Ben Askren out on his feet in the very first round of their Saturday night fight. The event, hosted by Triller Fight Club, featured the likes of Frank Mir on the undercard in his boxing debut and a slap fight moderated by “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. The undercard was graced with the possibly drug-addled ramblings of disgraced boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, necessitating Snoop Dogg to replace him for the main event. If it wasn’t apparent, this entire thing was a bit on the strange side.
The lead-up was almost better than the fight. For months, Askren and Paul went to war over Twitter, and Instagram with the petty turned up to 11. So great was Askren’s clowning of Paul; it was almost enough to make you forget that this was the worst striker in MMA history going into a fight without his literal only weapon. But his trolling and fight experience combined with a collective desire to see Paul eat one might have led to Askren being the favorite going in.
So maybe we’d see a miracle. Maybe this retired 36-year-old with a hip replacement would spinning back fist his way to a huge W.
Aaaaaaand he’s out.
Askren caught a big one-two from Paul to land flat on the canvas in the opening two minutes. He’d thrown a promising overhand before this, but it seemed to change things very little. Askren wobbled to his feet after a moment, visibly dazed. Despite standing before the count, the ref made the call to stop things there and award Paul the TKO victory.
According to MMA Fighting, the event reached a whopping 1+ million pay-per-view buys, with both men clearing at least half a million per purse. As expected, everyone from Marcello Garcia black belt Dillon Danis to ex-UFC contender Chris Leben has expressed interest in Paul’s match. Former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier expressed a strong interest in seeing his friend and fellow ex-champ Tyron Woodley silence the new boxer.
“But I would like him [Paul] to fight Tyron [Woodley]. I would like to see him fight someone more real,” Cormier said to Ariel Helwani on DC & Helwani.
So who should Paul fight next? As long as they have two working hips, it should be a good show.
Robert Whittaker Defeats Kelvin Gastelum
On the opposite end of the combat spectrum, Robert Whittaker took on middleweight contender and fellow rival to Israel Adesanya, Kelvin Gastelum, at UFC Fight Night on Saturday. The two powerhouses battled the full five rounds in the main event, with Whittaker clearly outclassing Gastelum at every turn.
Round one saw a ton of big leg kicks fired back and forth, but Whittaker started to pull ahead with smooth counters. Whittaker landed a huge head kick and followed up with a takedown to end up on top. Whittaker spent all but the last 20 seconds in top half guard, peppering Gastelum with shots from different angles.
Round two turned up the pace, even more, both men throwing heaters from the ring of the bell. Gastelum went in on a TD, but Whittaker’s defense caused the Californian to bail. Whittaker landed another choice head kick to rock Gastelum and dominate the rest of the round visibly.
The rest of the fight followed a shockingly similar script, with Gastelum’s most notable offense coming in the form of a round three groin shot thrown accidentally. Whittaker landed two more takedowns, another head kick, and countless counters over rounds three through five, leaving no doubt as to who deserved the win at the end. Whittaker got his hand raised after going the distance, putting him straight back into title contention against Adesanya.
It was a phenomenal matchup, seen my criminally few people given the trash fire we were all distracted by.
Jeremy Stephens Leaves Drakkar Klose Concussed After Shove
We’ve all seen fighters get too amped at faceoff pressers; it’s a well-documented phenomenon in MMA and other combat sports. But rarely do these antics result in the fight they’re meant to promote getting canceled due to injury.
UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens’ planned bout against Drakkar Klose was tragically canceled due to injuries Klose received from Stephens shoving him at their face-off during Friday’s weigh-ins. The contender stated he’d suffered cervical neck injuries as well as a concussion.
“After Jeremy shoved me at UFC Faceoffs, I immediately felt my hand go numb, and neck tighten up,” Klose posted to social media the following day. Stephens expressed little sympathy, stating on Instagram, “Dramas Klose just got a little too close, with aggressive behavior walking up knowing we about to fight I just have zero tolerance for that type of disrespect 👊🏽.”
Many have called for Stephens to be fined and for Klose to pursue legal action. There is no current word on the future matchup or Klose’s condition following his diagnosis, but we all wish him the speediest of recoveries.
Don’t shove your homies, yo.
And that’s it for this week, everyone! Tune in next time for more MMA/BJJ goodness launched right into your soul.
Aces BJJ Blog staff writer and BJJ Blue belt under Edward “Scissor Hands” Berberich of Soulcraft BJJ. Kevin has been training BJJ for four years and complaining about Star Wars for over 20. Follow him on Instagram @kbrads_bjj