While he was successful inside the Octagon in 2010, UFC middleweight Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara had a very disappointing time outside of it as injuries and illness plagued his year.
It seemed that every time Sakara would get healthy, another issue developed and he was forced out of a fight, even on the very night he was to step into the cage.
“Unfortunately, I fought just once in 2010 (against James Irvin),” Sakara told MMAWeekly.com. “I wish I could be busier, but injuries happen very often in this sport.
“It was really frustrating, because I was well-prepared (for my follow-up), and it was an important fight for my career, but I guess everything happens for a reason. The most important thing is that right now I feel great physically and mentally, and I’m ready to go in there and look for a knockout.”
When Sakara returns to the UFC this Thursday at UFC on Versus 3, he will be looking to add on to his current three-fight winning streak, which he believes is the result of renewed focus and personal growth.
“In the past two years I’ve been more dedicated,” he commented. “I worked hard on my stand-up, my ground skills, and on my strength and conditioning. And most importantly I believe that being a father made me more mature.”
Sakara was supposed to face both Maiquel Falcao and Rafeal Natal this Thursday night, but both have been forced out of the fight, stepping in is Team Serra-Longo up and comer Chris Weidman.
“It’s gonna be a great test,” stated Sakara. “I know he’s a great wrestler, (and while) he’s got just four fights in MMA, I don’t want to underestimate him.
“Definitely experience will be a big factor in this fight. I’m sure he wants to win this fight so bad, but so do I.”
A win over Weidman could put Sakara firmly in the title hunt, but it’s not a belt that he is focused on, only the art of the fight itself.
“I feel like I don’t deserve a title shot yet, and I don’t want to look past Weidman,” said Sakara. “I want to fight more in 2011 and I want to test myself against the best fighters out there.”
Times in recent past have tested the resolve of Sakara, but he has weathered the storm and come out the better for it on the other side. Now that he’s healthy and focused, it’s a storm he intends his opponents to have to weather in the coming year.
“My last fight I was unable to compete at the very last minute and I felt like I let my fans down,” said Sakara in closing, “but I’m going to make it up to them with this fight!
“USQUE AD FINEM”