Welterweight kingpin Ben Askren will return to the ONE Championship cage in May to face undefeated Malaysian prospect Agilan Thani.
The bout will serve as the co-main event of ONE: Dynasty of Heroes in Singapore on 26 May, where atomweight champion Angela Lee (7-0) puts her title on the line for the second time against Istela Nunes (6-0).
It’s an intriguing match-up for Askren, who has notched up 15 wins on the global stage since 2009. Rising Malaysian star Thani (6-0) has been gunning for Askren since his impressive submission victory over veteran welterweight Jeff Huang earlier this year.
“We are excited to announce that ONE Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren is back and he’s ready to welcome the young Agilan Thani to the upper echelon of the division,” said ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui.
“It is going to be an awesome showdown of youth versus experience.”
Defending the welterweight title has been somewhat troublesome for Askren (15-0), who’s preview two match-ups have ended in dramatic style.
His bout with Luis Santos in 2015 was ruled a a no-contest after an accidental eye poke. No title was on the line when he took a unanimous decision win over Nikolay Alexsakhin in April last year after Alexsakhin failed to make weight.
Also on the Dynasty of Heroes card is Japanese MMA veteran Shinya Aoki who returns six months after losing his lightweight title for a grappling super-match between former against IBJJF World and Pan American Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Garry Tonon.