Askren set for Jan. 26 UFC debut against Lawler

MMA

Undefeated UFC newcomer Ben Askren has booked his first contest in the Octagon, and it’s against a former champion.

Askren (18-0) will meet former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, California, according to UFC president Dana White. The pay-per-view event will take place at Honda Center.

According to sources, the UFC is close to finalizing the matchup, although bout agreements have not yet been signed.

Askren, 34, is a former titleholder at Bellator MMA and One Championship. He signed with the UFC last month as part of a rare deal that saw longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson transition to One.

In addition to his undefeated MMA career, Askren is a NCAA Division I national champion wrestler from the University of Missouri.

Lawler (28-12) hasn’t fought since December due to a torn ACL. He surrendered his 170-pound belt to Tyron Woodley in July 2016 and has fought only twice since, splitting contests against Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos.

Fighting out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Lawler has 20 career knockouts.

The UFC has not yet announced a main event for UFC 233.

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