Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren is set to go down this evening in Atlanta Georgia. With eight rounds possible, this will mark Paul’s first test against a true professional fighter. While Askren is primarily known for his wrestling, any professional MMA fighter has years of striking training under their belt. Ben has been in there with pro fighters, in deep waters, while Jake has knocked out a YouTuber and an NBA player.
This of course is what makes this fight so intriguing, and fun. Many won’t admit that it’s fun, but this is a great opportunity for combat sports to branch out.
Plus, who can say they definitively know how this one is going to play out? There are so many unknowns. How much will Jake Paul’s training pay off against a pro fighter? Will Askren’s experience take over and Jake will look silly? We truly don’t know, everything is up in the air for this fight.
For Paul, the YouTube star will have close to a four inch reach advantage in this one. Age is also overwhelmingly on his side, as Paul was born in 1997. Askren is much older, coming in at 36 years-old and fresh off a hype replacement surgery.
As far as fight tape goes in regards to Paul, there’s essentially nothing there. Nate Robinson just walked into power shots and got out to sleep, not much more to say about that fight other than that. Against AnEsonGib, Paul displayed some good power and was hurting him badly with jabs. That fight also ended quickly via technical knockout.
So there’s really nothing to go on, but there is promise. Paul has been training with former boxer BJ Flores and has brought in several highly regarded sparring partners both now and in the past. For this one, he’s been sparring with British MMA fighter Jake Bostwick, who has much better striking than Ben Askren.
How much is all this worth? Again, we really don’t know. With that said, I do think that Jake Paul is more serious than most give him credit for. Is he the elite fighter he seems to think he is? Of course not, but he also isn’t some influencer walking in off the street to get smoked. He’s worked at this, has solid fundamentals, and now we get to see what it’s worth.
For Ben Askren, the now retired MMA fighter was known for his grappling over his career, to say the least. Askren was pretty much pure grappling, though he does also have some decent clinch work at times.
There really isn’t much striking tape to go off for Ben, because it was pretty much always looping and aimed at setting up take downs. If you’d like to watch a tape with some more stand-up involved, Ben was forced to trade in his last UFC fight against Demian Maia.
Maia is another grappling first UFC fighter, so these types of fights usually take place on the feet. They cancel each other out. In that one, Maia was able to more or less run away in the striking department. Maia’s striking is very very basic, which sort of highlights where Ben’s is.
From a boxing perspective, Ben has never had much going in that department. He would win in an MMA fight 100 times out of 100, but this is boxing. It isn’t his wheelhouse.
With that said, Ben’s best path to victory will come via clinch work. If Askren is able to get inside and start wearing on Jake, while landing body hooks and uppercuts, this will make Jake tired quickly.
If Ben employs this game plan, his success will depend on how much the ref lets him work. If the ref is separating them quickly and making them trade, this will favor Jake. Even the most novice boxer will be able to exploit the reach advantage he will have in this one.
Ultimately, I like Jake Paul’s chances in this one. Promoters seem to really want Jake to get this win here, so they’ll be able to say that he beat a professional fighter. They really did go out and match him up with the best combination of name recognition and striking acumen, but still plenty beatable enough in terms of an opponent.
Why not make the fight with Dillon Danis? There was beef there, McGregor affiliation, Danis is another grappling based MMA fighter, but they opted to make the fight with Askren. Why? Because Jake Paul is “supposed” to win here.
From a betting perspective, I would only recommend wagering on this fight for fun. I do see value in Jake Paul moneyline, however. The knockout prop? Not so much.
Jake has never even been in there with a pro fighter, let alone knocked one out. At +115 for a knockout, that’s just insane. A -150 moneyline is far safer, though somewhat less valuable. Ultimately, however, Jake Paul moneyline is far safer than a knockout prop.
I do see value in Jake Paul by decision at +550. Some books have this closer to +700, which is a solid sprinkle bet opportunity. I can see this fight being quite boring, with a-lot of ref separation followed by Jake scoring points. If he stays calm, he can easily win a decision here.
Check out the video below for a more detailed breakdown.