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Ben Bennett & Max Askren AGON 3

By Kevin Schlosser, 01/16/14, 8:00PM EST


Festival OF Funk

AGON III WC: Festival of Funk Opens 2014 in Whitewater, WI

Ben Askren & Mike Poeta are Ready to Rumble in Main Event

Kevin Schlosser – January 16, 2014 ( 

(Columbus, OH)  The AGON Wrestling Championships will hold their first event in 2014 when they present AGON III WC: The Festival of Funk in Whitewater, Wisconsin on January 26.  Wrestling icon and Wisconsin native Ben Askren will face two-time NCAA finalist Michael Poeta in the main event; Max Askren will face Michigan native Ben Bennett; NCAA champion Craig Becker is slated to face John Mesenbrink; and college coaches Luke Smith and Chris Heilman will complete the card.  The event is scheduled in the Williams Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and will be held in conjunction with a youth wrestling tournament, the AWA Winter Wrestling Classic.


"I am pumped to compete in front of a hometown Wisconsin crowd for the first time in over 10 years," offered Ben Askren prior to the conference call promoting AGON III.  "It is going to be amazing to compete on the same day with my brother and high school coach John Mesenbrink.  With ourAWA wrestlers competing the same day it should be a blast."


A two-time Wisconsin state champion at Arrowhead HS, Ben Askren was a four-time NCAA finalist and a two-time, undefeated NCAA champion for the University of Missouri in 2006 and 2007.  Also a two-time Hodge Award winner as the most dominant college wrestler, Askren was a 2008 Olympian for the United States and a 2009 Grappling World Champion for Team USA.   Making the transition to mixed martial arts, the former Bellator Welterweight World Champion and current ONE FC fighter has built a 12-0 record in the cage.

"Bringing AGON to my home state of Wisconsin is a dream come true, I can't wait to put on a show for the hometown crowd," stated Ben Askren.

Ben was dominant in his first wrestling match in almost four years at AGON I with a 22-8 victory against two-time NCAA champion Quentin Wright.  At AGON III he will fan the flames of the Illinois-Wisconsin wrestling rivalry when he steps on the mat against Michael Poeta.  An assistant coach at the University of Illinois, Poeta was a three-time NCAA All-American and a two-time NCAA finalist for the Fighting Illini and he has no intent of playing it safe with Askren.

"I am excited to wrestle Ben in front of his hometown crowd,” commented Poeta.   “I watched him at AGON I, I think he is overweight and slow, with my speed I can take advantage of that no problem."

Max Askren, a three-time Wisconsin state place winner, was a three-time NCAA All-American and the 2010 NCAA champion for the University of Missouri.  His opponent, Ben Bennett, a three-time Michigan state champion was a four-time NCAA All-American at Central Michigan.  Both wrestlers participated at the AGON II Wrestling Championships in Flint, Michigan so each knows what to expect from a nine minute AGON war. 

“Ben (Bennett) is a great wrestler.  He isn’t afraid to mix things up to try to score some points and neither am I.  You put us on the mat together and I know we can put on a great show for the fans,” commented Max Askren when asked about the matchup.

A pair of Wisconsin college coaches will headline the other two matches on the card with Craig Becker representing the University of Wisconsin Parkside and Chris Heilman on staff at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater.  Becker, a two-time NCAA All-American and the 2010 Division II NCAA champion, will face Askren Wrestling Academy head coach John Mesenbrink.  Heilman, a three-time All-American at Cornell College (IA), will face Wisconsin native Luke Smith in final bout on the card.  Smith, a two-time Wisconsin state champion, was a four-year starter and two-time MAC champion at Central Michigan University and is currently in his third year as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University.     

Ben and Max Askren work side by side at the Askren Wrestling Academy and together they will be sponsoring the youth wrestling tournament held in conjunction with AGON III, the Winter Wrestling Classic.  While the tournament is open to all Wisconsin wrestlers and anyone that wants to travel and register, Poeta will make sure that there is some Illinois participation.

"Not only will I beat Ben in front of his hometown crowd, but my youth team is going to win most weights at the AWA Winter Classic,” asserted Poeta“ Illinois kids are better than Wisconsin kids anyway you cut it."

To register online for the AWA Winter Classic:  (open until 10:00 pm on Friday, January 25)

CF Athletic, the AWA Winter Wrestling Classic, and Tiffin Mats are sponsoring the event and a live webcast of AGON III on the AGON website,

To listen to the AGON III WC press conference on 1/16, please visit.

Media Inquiries: Please contact Kevin Schlosser at or 614-578-9336.