Ben Askren will return to the One Championship cage on April 15 when he defends his welterweight crown against Nikolay Aleksakhin.
The promotion confirmed the bout following an initial report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The event, entitled One Championship 40 “Global Rivals,” will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila. Both fighters will be subject to One Championship’s recently-adopted weigh-in policy, which requires athletes to compete at their “walking around” weight.
Askren is coming off a frustrating 2015. After an eye-poke resulted in his April bout against Luis Santos being ruled a no contest, their November rematch was scrapped when Santos was unable to make weight. Askren’s last victory came in August 2014, when he earned a first-round technical knockout triumph over Nobutatsu Suzuki at One Championship 19. The 31-year-old former Bellator champion is 14-0 as a professional.
A 25-year-old native of Russia, Aleksakhin made his promotional debut at One Championship 33, where he submitted Burenzorig Batmunkh in the third round of their bout. Aleksakhin is 16-3 as a pro, with seven triumphs inside the distance.