Swedish MMA fighter Zebaztian “The Bandit” Kadestam, 26, is set to challenge ONE welterweight world champion Ben “Funky” Askren, 33, at “ONE Championship: Shanghai” at the 15,000-capacity Shanghai Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China, on Sept. 2, Saturday. One thing that fans think Askren has that can make him defeat Kadestam is his wrestling skills.
“If you’re going to ask a lot of the mixed martial artists, they’re going to say that wrestling is the number one martial art to learn,” Askren said in a statement obtained by Conan Daily. The American MMA fighter has two NCAA Division I national championship trophies under his belt.
In 2008, Askren represented the United States at the Beijing Olympics. After this, he transitioned to MMA and went on to become the ONE welterweight world champion with a perfect record of 16 wins and 0 loss.
There is one thing Askren wants to assure his fans. Since wrestling has always been his bread-and-butter, he guaranteed that once he gets his opponent on the mat, it is a matter of seconds before he finishes him.
However, Askren is not underestimating his “ONE Championship: Shanghai” opponent. He will take the match seriously although he recognizes that Kadestam is the underdog.
On the other hand, Askren recognizes Kadestam’s strengths as an MMA fighter. The Swedish fighter is known for his striking skills as a Muay Thai fighter.
In May, Kadestam defeated Luis “Sapo” Santos and caught Askren’s attention. For Askren, Kadestaim is tough and durable as shown in the match with Santos.
Askren noticed that Kadestam took some hard shots from Santos but he stayed there and kept competing. But for Askren, his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses do not really matter because he has the trump card and Kadestam cannot stop his wrestling.
As for Kadestam, he enjoys being the underdog. “I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I couldn’t really care less who it is,” South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.
For Askren, nobody should write off an underdog. He himself has been in a situation of being the underdog so he knows how it feels.