ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren has yet to lose an MMA fight and Swedish fighter Zebaztian Kadestam, who is based in the Philippines, may have the chance to change that. Recently, the former revealed that calling out the latter was not part of his original plan after recently defending his title.
Malaysian challenger Agilan Thani failed to dethrone Askren in Singapore on May 26 at “ONE Championship: Kings of Dynasty.” In the same event, Kadestam knocked out Brazilian fighter Luis “Sapo” Santos in the welterweight division.
Santos and Askren fought in 2015 in the Philippines in the main event of “ONE Championship 26: Valor of Champions” but it ended in a no-contest after an eye poke. In 2016, ONE Middleweight World Champion Vitaly Bigdash agreed to drop down and challenge Askren but eventually changed his mind.
“My original plan was to beat Thani and then call out Santos to settle that business and then call out Bigdash as well,” Askren told Flo Combat. “But after Kadestam knocked him out, that took care of him.”
Askren told the publication that he planned on having a busy year in 2017. Since Bigdash is scheduled to have a rematch with Burmese fighter Aung La Nsang, Askren expressed his interest in having Kadestam, who he describes as “healthy,” as his next contender on Aug. 18 in Malaysia.
In a recent interview with Conan Daily, Kadestam also expressed his interest in challenging Askren. In fact, the Philippines-based Swedish fighter said he wanted to fight the reigning ONE Welterweight World Champion three times.
Kadestam’s recent fight with Santos marked his ONE Championship debut. The Swedish fighter said he had always had his eyes on ONE and he loved the rule set and their way of promoting martial arts instead of trash talk.
For Kadestam, his MMA success became possible because of the people that had helped him over the years and had been with him in ups and downs no matter what. He thanked Pancrase Gym and Legacy Gym, as well.
(photos from ONE Championship)
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