Former Missouri wrestlers Ben Askren and Michael Chandler will try to defend their Bellator titles tonight in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Chandler, the defending Bellator Lightweight Champion, will face David “The Caveman” Rickels, while Askren, the Bellator Welterweight Champion will defend his title against Russian Andrey Koreskov.
A 2009 graduate from Mizzou, Chandler became a world champion in 2011 after a victory by submission over Eddie Alvarez. He since has defended his title on January 17, 2013, with a win over Judo Olympian Rick Hawn. Chandler is 11-0 heading into tonight’s match.
Askren was a two-time NCAA National Champion at 174 pounds and former US Olympian. Askren became the wrestling program’s first-ever National Champion in 2006 and repeated in 2007. Askren was the first Tiger to compete at the Olympics, doing so in Beijing, China, in 2008 in the 64 kg, men’s freestyle championships.
Both fights will take place live from the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, starting at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Fans can watch the action free of charge on Spike TV. Askren and Koreskov will take the cage first, with Chandler and Rickels following.