I’ve been looking forward to this ONE main event at “Valor of Champions”. I’ve been singing the praises of Luis “Sapo” Santos (61-9-1) for a couple years now since I saw him fight in XFC and finishing everyone he faced in devastating fashion. I thought he belonged on the big stage, or at least in a big fight against a big name and “Valor of Champions” has provided that opportunity with Askren. I knew Sapo had the power and skill to finish Askren, but I wasn’t sure how he’d be able to deal with that other-level wrestling of the Olympian.
But he did. Sapo defended every takedown attempt Askren threw at him and there were several. Sapo was getting off with his striking as well, though hadn’t landed anything too significant yet aside from dropping Ben with a leg kick. At one point, after defending a takedown, Sapo nearly took Askren’s head off with a soccer style kick — it actually parted Askren’s fro I think.
But on one of Askren’s takedown attempts he accidentally poked Santos in the eye. The tape was reviewed, the eye poke was confirmed and Sapo was given 5 minutes to recover. He could not fully recover and the bout was called. The result was ruled a No Contest.
It’s hard to say who would have won although Santos was doing very well. I know he shocked a lot of people. However, he was looking to slow down just a bit and I’m not sure that Askren ever slows down. He may have been able to keep up those relentless takedown attempts and got him down and took it from there. Santos landed several judo throw counters to Askren’s takedown attempts that were quite impressive. He’d clearly prepared well for the wrestler.
After the fight Askren clamored for an immediate rematch saying, “Lets fight as soon as possible. You looked for a way out and you found a way out. … Wherever he wants whenever he wants. I’m embarrassed. I don’t even know what to say.”
Very disappointing to say the least, especially since that was the main reason I bought the online pay-per-view. But you can’t control these things. It’s part of the sport and there was only one decision on the card. Now the rematch between Askren and Santos will bring even more hype.
ONE: Valor of Champions fight results:
- ONE Welterweight Championship bout: Ben Askren vs. Luis Santos ruled a No Contest (Sapo suffered eye poke) – Round 1
- Bantamweight bout: Mark Striegl def. Casey Suire via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1,
- Catchweight bout: Anatpong Bunrad def. Geje Eustaquio via split decision
- Flyweight bout: Eugene Toquero def Brianata Rosadhi via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:41
- Featherweight bout: Edward Kelly def. Jimmy Yabo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:05
- Catchweight bout: Amir Khan def. Bashir Ahmad via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) – Round 3, 3:20
- Flyweight bout: Xiaoyang Liu def. Nicholas Lee via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 1:59
- Featherweight bout: Wang Ya Wei def. Sunoto Peringkat via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:21
Ben Askren vs. Luis “Sapo” Santos fight video: