ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren will defend his title against Swedish challenger Zebaztian Kadestam on Saturday (September 2) in Shanghai, China.
Ahead of the fight, the two 170lb fighters squared off before the media at the Hotel Indigo Shanghai on The Bund.
Ben Askren, the reigning champion, stated: “In this sport, it’s you against the other guy. You make or break your own destiny. I want to be in control of the outcome at all times. Being a champion goes far beyond just wearing that gold belt around my waist. It is also about how you carry yourself as champion, and how you inspire others with the way you train and compete. Kadestam is a tough guy, he showed that in his last bout. But it doesn’t matter what his strengths and weaknesses are. At the end of the day, he can’t stop my wrestling. He’s going to be on his back, and I’m going to be pounding away until the referee stops the contest.”
A former NCAA Division I All-American, Ben ‘Funky’ Askren is a collegiate wrestling legend and a US Olympian who represented the nation at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He is universally recognized as one of the finest martial artists in the world today, having won the ONE welterweight title in only his second bout with the company. Since then, Askren, 16-0, has successfully defended his belt not once but twice, and last time out, in May, secured a first-round submission of young Malaysian star Agilan Thani.
Zebaztian Kadestam, Askren’s next challenger, said: “I always enjoy a good battle between two martial artists testing themselves. Ben Askren is one of the best martial artists in the world, and this is the reason I chose to come to ONE Championship, for an opportunity to test myself against the absolute best. Martial arts is my life and I believe I am going to be a martial artist until the day I die. Nothing is going to take me away from this. I am coming into the cage with everything I have. You can expect the best version of Zebaztian Kadestam when I step onto that battlefield.”
Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam holds an outstanding professional record of 9-3 – with seven victories coming by way of knockout – and is a tremendous competitor with a wide array of striking and grappling techniques.
Kadestam made a successful ONE Championship debut last May when he defeated Luis Santos, upsetting the top welterweight contender via a come-from-behind third-round knockout. Now, in Ben Askren, he faces the sternest test of his career to date.