Ahead of Saturday’s boxing match between YouTube star Jake Paul and UFC veteran Ben Askren, theScore asked more than three dozen fighters for their predictions.
(Answers have been edited slightly for clarity.)
UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes: I’m taking Jake Paul strictly based on Paul’s last fight. His hand speed and the fluidity of his combination are miles beyond Askren. On top of that, Askren’s footwork is so zombie-like; sometimes he strikes me as more of a walking punch bag than a competent striker.
Stephen Thompson, UFC welterweight: I’ll go get my man Ben Askren. I think he can tire Paul out and screw him up.
Bellator middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi: I will support Askren.
UFC middleweight Uriah Hall: It’s tough because they picked the worst attacker in MMA over the worst person on the planet. My MMA team says Ben will win on points.
Belal Muhammad, UFC welterweight: I asked Askren to finish it in the last laps. I think Paul will try to knock him out early by throwing bombs, and that will make him angry.
UFC welterweight Santiago Ponzinibbio: I think Jake Paul will win. Askren’s strike is terrible.
UFC bantamweight Jimmie Rivera: Ben Askren, hopefully. Through experience, I had Ben.
Matt Brown, UFC welterweight: I think Askren will beat Paul if he took the training seriously. If he hasn’t trained seriously, then Paul has a good chance. But Paul won’t be able to knock him out no matter what.
UFC heavyweight Walt Harris: Askren by decision. I have to stay with my MMA guy.
UFC featherweight Mirsad Bektic: Unfortunately, Jake by the liver shot.
UFC bantamweight Cody Stamann: Jake Paul selected Ben Askren for a boxing match. Askren is literally the worst guy standing in the UFC. But he’s a competitor, and he’s got a lot of combat experience. Jake has better hands, but he’s no fighter. I think Askren wins even though his boxing is horrible.
Former Bellator lightweight champion Brent Primus: I really want Ben Askren to win, but if I had to put any money in it, I would bet on Jake. Ben is not known for his stand-up or his boxing. It is really embarrassing to watch. But if it was an MMA fight, Ben would bend it over and spank it. These boxers and athletes would not dare to challenge an MMA fighter in an MMA fight.
James Krause, UFC welterweight: It’s the fights that really intrigue me. There are so many X factors and unknowns. Looking at the facts, I have to think Jake Paul is going to win this fight. This guy is doing a real job. He can really box. I’m not saying he can hang out with real professional boxers, but from what I’ve seen he can really box. This kid has guts with him. He brings in training partners who blow their asses. He’s not just a guy from YouTube. Ben Askren put it better: “Dude, if Jake Paul can really box, I think I’m in trouble. I don’t think he can.” Dude, I don’t know. Looks like he can box a bit.
Jake Paul is by far a better boxer. My only concern is that Askren has competed his entire life and he knows how to win. I could see a situation where Paul was throwing hammers and punching himself, and Askren was catching him and intimidating him around the ring. If they pull themselves together, Askren will move it wherever he wants. I could see him making things ugly early on and tiring Jake out. Askren is durable. He can take a good punch with little gloves on. And it is a competitor. Gun to my head, gotta go Jake Paul, but I’m about 50-50 on it.
UFC featherweight Shane Burgos: I predict Jake will win by disqualification. Jake starts tagging him, and Ben says “f — it” and drops him repeatedly until the ref calls him. This is a real prediction. I think Jake will get the better of him from the start, and if Ben gets hurt, I think that’s how it’s going to be. I think Ben should also do exactly what I said. I would like. F — lose by knockout against this guy.
Mickey Gall, UFC welterweight: I think Ben Askren is making it ugly by picking up and boxing dirty and pulling away the win.
UFC lightweight Devonte Smith: I want Askren to win just for the sake of the sport, but Jake looks pretty confident after his last fight. Askren isn’t a bad fighter, but boxing is a different sport and stand-up isn’t his thing. Jake Paul practiced pure boxing, and they choose his fights wisely, and the opponents which they believe are a guaranteed victory.
UFC featherweight Jared Gordon: I think Paul can win early. He has to finish Ben to win. Ben must have it in the last laps, wear it out and make it dirty.
Louis Smolka, UFC bantamweight: Gut tells me that Askren is stunned unless he holds something back.
UFC middleweight Eryk Anders: Switch with Askren.
Christos Giagos, UFC lightweight: I’m going with the Olympic athlete, Ben. He’s got more heart, but I’m not counting Jake Paul.
UFC middleweight Zak Cummings: I think Ben intimidates and dominates him. I don’t know if he finishes or not, but I think as long as he doesn’t get caught in the first round he will be heading for victory.
UFC lightweight Alexander Hernandez: Big Ben by TKO in the fourth round.
UFC middleweight Julian Marquez: Ben.
UFC middleweight Darren Stewart: Jake Paul.
KB Bhullar, UFC middleweight: I think Ben is a phenomenal grappler in MMA, but his skills don’t translate very well in the boxing world. Jake Paul is inexperienced, but he is trained exclusively as a boxer. I hope Ben can pull it off, but if I had to bet I would put my faith in Paul to get the win.
UFC featherweight Peter Barrett: Askren all day. I think he’s going to TKO Paul in the final laps.
Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Sarah Kaufman: I think Jake Paul has a good chance of taking this one. Askren isn’t known for his strikes, and Jake Paul seems to have good length of his punches, as well as good power.
Zach Makovsky, Flyweight Brave CF: First of all, I mean I won’t watch, and I despise this trend in combat sports. Maybe soon we can have celebrities compete in all of our sports for us, and professional athletics can be a thing of the past.
Askren is an excellent grappler with a slow, methodical but unique style. What it doesn’t have is speed, power, quick reactions, defensive moves or even a competent high guard. Unfortunately, I think Askren will be arrested. I’m not sure he gets mad, but I think he will be stopped in the first half of the fight.
Brandon Girtz, featherweight Bellator: I’m really torn by what I think is going on with this. We all know Ben never had a hand, and I saw that Jake Paul could really punch. If Ben can give him a rhythm and never let Jake go, he will win. But unfortunately I don’t see this happening. Jake will probably win. I hope not, but Ben’s boxing couldn’t have been much better in four months.
ONE Championship heavyweight Arjan Bhullar: Heart goes out for Askren, but logic says Paul all day. He can actually throw a punch and put them together in combinations.
Jose Torres, Brave CF flyweight: Ben Askren will win by unanimous decision because while not the best fighter standing he went against some of the best and took many styles of fighting to the extreme and won. Jake is a tough young athlete, but he’s not a fighter. I believe he will start and win the first round strong, but Ben is smart enough to do what he needs to survive and push to wear Paul out and outdo him for the rest of the fight.
Brad Katona, Brave CF bantamweight: I’m shooting for Ben Askren on this one. Ben may have to overcome a couple of tough rounds initially, but he’ll bring him home with a decision win in the second half of the fight.
Josh Jauncey, former GLORY Kickboxing lightweight: Strange fight to be expected. I believe Askren’s years of fighting and competition should give him a huge advantage. Plus, he should always be able to use his wrestling and grappling expertise to tie Paul up, lean on him and tire him out.
However, the Paul brothers are really not that bad in terms of skills, especially since they only had a few fights. I would definitely rank them higher than most amateur boxers with the same fighting and training experience. If Ben doesn’t get cut before Round 4 – which is very possible – then he will win by decision or TKO or Jake will give up on the exhaustion stool.
Former UFC lightweight Daron Cruickshank: Ben Askren has no typing skills. I’m not sure Jake Paul has the smoke to knock him out, but if I was to put any money on anyone in this fight it would probably be Paul.
Juan Adams, former UFC heavyweight: Ben Askren.
Former UFC flyweight Jarred Brooks: I would say Ben Askren because he’s a seasoned athlete. But only if it goes beyond the second round.
Raufeon Stots, Bellator bantamweight: Ben via KO in the eighth round.
Freddy Assuncao, MMA featherweight: I have Paul.
- Fighters choosing Paul: 15
- Fighters choosing Askren: 20
- Undecided fighters: 3