• STILL FUNKY | Ben Askren grinds out a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Nikolay Aleksakhin

STILL FUNKY | Ben Askren grinds out a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Nikolay Aleksakhin (Photo : ONE Championship)

It's not everyday undefeated welterweight kingpin Ben "Funky" Askren gets pushed to the limit against a lively challenger, but Russia's Nikolay Aleksakhin did all that he could to take the fight to the American wrestler, and connected with a few good shots in a competitive five-round catchweight bout in Manila.

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Askren (15-0) did just enough to earn the unanimous decision victory over Aleksakhin (17-4) from all three cage-side judges Friday night, April 15 at the 20,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in the main event of ONE: Global Rivals.

Aleksakhin turned in a tremendous effort in battling through adversity to give Askren a good, solid scrap. Askren of course, relied heavily on his world-class wrestling skills to control his Russian foe for the majority of the fight.

A former US Olympian, Askren reminded the world what makes him a great fighter by successfully taking Aleksakhin down seemingly at will. Everytime Askren would close the distance, he would latch on to Aleksakhin and drag him to the mat.

On the mat, Askren dominated with his wrestling, drowning Aleksakhin with a plethora of elbows and hammer fists from his favorite mounted crucifix position.

By the third round however, Aleksakhin started to connect with a few damaging strikes, changing the dynamic of the fight but Askren took the shots like a true champion. Perhaps one aspect of Askren's game that often goes overlooked is his great punch resistance and he showcased that in this fight.

But in the end, Aleksakhin's striking superiority in the stand-up just wasn't enough to trump an overall gnarly performance from Askren who came off a year of inactivity following a No-Contest title defense against Brazil's Luis Santos last 2015.

With the victory, Askren improves his record to 15-0 and remains undefeated as a highly-anticipated rematch with Luis Santos looms on the horizon.