Former Bellator and ONE Championship star Ben Askren very nearly died in the opening seconds of his UFC debut. You see, he tried to shoot for a takedown against Robbie Lawler – with absolutely no set-up, which Askren is wont to do – and of course Lawler was ready.

And of course Lawler hoisted him over his head and slammed him. And of course Lawler began pounding Askren’s head into the canvas with massive punches. UFC 235 almost saw Ben Askren’s UFC debut become Ben Askren’s retirement bout. Just took a look at the clip attached to this tweet:

But somehow Askren survived. And in the ensuing funky wrestling exchanges, latched onto Lawler’s neck with a bulldog choke.

And then, for some odd reason, referee Herb Dean thought Lawler was out, so he jumped in and stopped the fight.

Lawler was not out.

So, we saw Askren nearly die. We saw him survive. We even saw him put Lawler in a bad position. Yes, the stoppage sucked. But Askren had his UFC debut, and he showed he can hang with the big boys.

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