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03-23-2010, 06:19 PM
Status: Muay Thai Fighter
Join Date: Apr 2007
| | Sakara comfortable with win Eyes Bisping next
Despite odd ending, Alessio Sakara comfortable with win, eyes Michael Bisping next | MMAjunkie.com
As the old saying goes, a win is a win. |
But for UFC middleweight Alessio Sakara (15-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC), his UFC on Versus 1 win over James Irvin came in a less-than-desirable fashion after a legal punch to the eye led directly to a first-round finish of "The Sandman."
Despite the auspicious ending to the bout, Sakara looked impressive in the opening minutes of the contest, and the win was his third-straight in the UFC. And now "Legionarius," who once appeared close to losing his spot in the UFC, has his eyes on some of the middleweight division's best.
"Obviously I'm a little bit upset because, as everybody knows, I'm always looking for the knockout," Sakara told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com). "But I felt very relaxed getting in the cage.
"I trained really hard so I was confident, and I think I fought a smart fight using my speed and my boxing skill as advantages."
While Irvin has long been a feared striker in the UFC, Sakara consistently beat him to the punch in every exchange. Irvin was forced to counter-strike, and he was ineffective in the strategy. Sakara appeared comfortable and confident in the cage – then it happened. A left hook scored to Irvin's face, and the 31-year-old slugger staggered to the ground.
"After I landed the left hook, I looked at him, and I knew that he was hurt," Sakara said. "He was wobbly, but I didn't realize immediately that I punched him in the eye."
Sakara rushed in to finish the fight, though referee Josh Rosenthal quickly waved off the contest before the Italian striker could inflict too much damage.
"I tried to punch him, but the referee stopped me," Sakara said. "I just wanted to finish the fight. I knew that I hit him with a legal punch, but after the referee came in, I was worried that he didn't see the punch. I mean, you never know how the fight will end up when it gets in the commission's hands.
"My first fight in the UFC I was winning, but I got kicked in the groin and the result was a no contest."
Instead, Rosenthal ruled the strike legal, and subsequent replays proved him right. The win was Sakara's fourth TKO victory inside the octagon.
While much of the attention following the contest has focused on the odd frame of Irvin in his 185-pound debut, the performance was one of Sakara's better outings in the UFC.
"I think that all the hard work at American Top Team paid off," Sakara said. "I'm always working on my boxing. I've got a lot of great guys to spar with, and my boxing coach is amazing. Since I got at ATT, I'm getting better and better. I feel physically stronger and faster, and mentally I feel more relaxed when I get in the cage.
"Another important factor is without a doubt my family. They're my inspiration."
Sakara's UFC wins now include Irvin, Thales Leites, Joe Vedepo, James Lee, Victor Valimaki and Elvis Sinosic. While the 28-year-old knows he's not exactly knocking on the door of title contention with that list of names, he is ready to challenge some of the elite-level fighters at 185 pounds.
In fact, he's got one name specifically on his mind.
"Honestly, I'm not thinking about the title yet," Sakara said. "I feel that I can still improve. I just wanna fight the best guys in the middleweight division and the UFC is full of them. Alessio Sakara vs. Micheal Bisping could be a really good fight.
"In the meantime, I just want say thank to all my fans, my family, my team and last, but not least, MMAjunkie.com
03-23-2010, 07:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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