Following a controversial ending to their April meeting in the opening round of Bellator’s welterweight tournament, Ben Askren has predicted another submission of Ryan Thomas in their rematch at Thursday’s Bellator 19, but has vowed to “put him to sleep so he can’t complain about it”.
“I’m going to do the same thing I did the last time: I’m going to go in there and choke him,” Askren said in a release. “Only this time I’m gonna put him to sleep all the way so he can’t complain about it.”
Midway through the opening round of their first bout at Bellator 14 on April 15, Askren secured an anaconda choke and the bout was surprisingly halted seconds later by the referee to the protests of Thomas, who gave no indications that he wanted the fight stopped.
When Jim Wallhead was forced to withdraw from the 170-pound tournament the following week, Thomas was tapped as a late-replacement and scored a first-round knockout of Jacob McClintock at Bellator 15 to setup a rematch with Askren in the welterweight semis.
“I think he’s been really immature about the whole thing from Day 1,” Askren continued. “I’ve just tried to go about my own business and prepare for the fight, and he’s been out talking [trash] on the message boards. That’s the kind of thing I might have done when I was 16 years old – not a grown man. It’s all pretty childish if you ask me.”
Bellator 19 also features a non-title ‘super fight’ between Bellator featherweight champ Joe Soto and UFC veteran Diego Saraiva, as well as the second welterweight semifinal between Dan Hornbuckle and Steve Carl.
Pictured: Ben Askren submits Ryan Thomas at Bellator 14