Welterweight tournament fighters Ben Askren and Ryan Thomas were cleared for their Bellator 19 rematch on Wednesday, as both fighters exited the scales under the 171-pound limit.
Askren, who took the first bout with a controversial referee stoppage, checked in at 170.4 pounds. Thomas, looking to avenge the defeat, registered a weight of 170.6.
The two fighters have traded barbs through the press in the week leading up to the fight.
A winner of two 174-pound division one NCAA national wrestling titles at the University of Missouri, Askren didn’t mince words when speaking of the rematch.
“I’m going to do the same thing I did the last time: I’m going to go in there and choke him,” said Askren (4-0), of Phoenix, Ariz. “Only this time I’m gonna put him to sleep all the way so he can’t complain about it.”
Thomas disagreed with Askren’s prediction.
“I think it’s pretty cowardly of him to be walking around running his mouth bragging about a victory he didn’t earn,” said Thomas (11-4), of Danville, Ill. “The guy hasn’t done anything in MMA. He hasn’t beaten anybody, including me, so I don’t know where he gets off disrespecting me. After this fight I’m gonna show him that you can’t be a one-dimensional fighter in MMA in this day and age.”
Bellator 19 will air live on FOX Sports Net at 8 p.m. ET, and will feature the season two debut of promotional 145-pound champion Joe Soto (8-0), who takes on UFC veteran Diego Saraiva (19-8-1). Also on the bill, 170-pound prospect Dan Hornbuckle (20-2) will tangle with Steve Carl (10-1).
Diego Saraiva (145.8) vs. Joe Soto (145.8)
Ryan Thomas (170.6) vs. Ben Askren (170.4)
Steve Carl (170.6) vs. Dan Hornbuckle (170)
Ty Lee (256.8) vs. Scott Barrett (262.8)
Daniel Pineda (144.8) vs. Chas Skelly (145.2)
Brandon McDowell (169) vs. Joe Christopher (170.6)
Jared Lopez (135.2) vs. Johnny Bedford (135.6)
Donyiell Winrow (185) vs. Josh Smith (185.2)
Aaron Wise (136) vs. Douglas Frey (135.8)