American fighter Masvidal took up Askren’s challenge of offering out the entire top 10 of the welterweight division, with the blood between the two turning bad in the lead up to the fight thanks to Askren’s loud-mouth approach.
But Masvidal silenced the former One Championship and Bellator world champion in devastating circumstances to hand Askren the first defeat of his career.
No sooner has the opening round begun, Masvidal sprinted out of his corner and leapt in Askren’s direction. The latter’s decision to try and take Masvidal down only aided what came next, as his head was on the receiving end of Masvidal’s right knee that sent him to the canvas unconscious.
Masvidal was able to follow up with two brutal right hands before referee Jason Herzog could wave the bout off with just five seconds on the official clock.
Masvidal made his intentions clear immediately after the bout, putting current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman on notice.
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“I’m coming for that belt,” Masvidal said in the Octagon. “You know who deserves that belt. I deserve that next title shot. After this performance, I don’t want to say anything. I’ll let the fans do the talking."
For all of Askren’s talk in the lead up to the fight, the 34-year-old kept things short after being taken to hospital for medical checks, with his one tweet post-fight saying: “Well that sucked.”
UFC president Dana White confirmed that Askren was medically fine after the worrying scenes inside the Octagon, while his team later said that he has left hospital after all checks came back positive and was on his way back to the team hotel.
“All of his stuff came back negative, but he’s OK,” White said. “I’m sure he’s not OK, but…”
Askren came out of retirement earlier this year to finally sign with the UFC and prove himself as the best in the world, and his first order of business was to call out every top 10 fighter in the promotion's 170lbs division and defeat former champion Robbie Lawler by submission last March.
Masvidal was possibly the only one to genuinely take offence to Askren's ribbings, and he made it known that he was coming to Las Vegas to "end" his opponent – something he certainly lived up to.
No one has ever ended a UFC fight as quickly as 'Gamebred' did on Saturday night, and with that, the Florida native etched his place in history and in the welterweight title picture.
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