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UFC 145 preview: Will Mark Bocek spoil John Alessio’s UFC return?

Mark Bocek (left) will face John Alessio at UFC 145

The UFC 145 event will feature a lightweight bout between MMA veterans Mark Bocek and John Alessio which will probably be the first fight on the live UFC PPV main card. Most casual fans don’t know this, but Alessio fought Pat Miletich at UFC 26 while at the tender age of 20 which took place in June 2000. It’s an interesting bout with Alessio finally making it back to the big leagues after squandering an earlier opportunity in the UFC five years ago, losing to both Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves respectively. He got the call to fight Bocek on short notice with Matt Wiman having to withdraw from the bout with an injury. Let’s see if he can make the most of the opportunity after dwelling on smaller shows for the past few years.

John Alessio (34-14) comes into this fight on a three fight winning streak, with the last win coming against the always tough Ryan Healy last month. Alessio has won 10 of his last 11 fights with the only loss coming against Siyar Bahadurzada, who made his UFC debut this past weekend in emphatic fashion as a welterweight. Alessio is a fighter’s fighter that looks to finish as he has only gone allowed 11 of his close to 50 fights go to the judges. He has 14 wins via submission and 11 via TKO/KO.

Mark Bocek (10-4) comes into this fight after defeating Nik Lentz back at UFC 140 via unanimous decision. Bocek is most noted for his grappling ability, but is starting to evolve into a mixed martial artist. The most impressive thing about Bocek is that all of his losses have come against top tier talent. He has decision losses to contender Jim Miller, Ben Henderson(current UFC lightweight champ), Frankie Edgar(former UFC lightweight champ), and a submission loss to TUF winner Mac Danzig. The submission specialist has finished seven opponents via submission and has one TKO to his credit.

This fight has all the makings of a dogfight written all over it. Bocek is as tough as they come while Alessio is a true definition of MMA veteran who has fought all over the world as a welterweight One of the biggest keys in this fight is that Alessio will be taking this fight on short notice. However, he just fought  a little over a month ago so being in shape shouldn’t be a problem as he went the distance in his last fight. He should be the bigger fighter as he has fought extensively as a welterweight, but oddly will be giving up a reach advantage to Bocek.

This fight will probably be spent on the ground for the most part as Bocek will look to impose his will in the grappling department. According to Fightmetric, Alessio has very good takedown defense as he has defended 83% of the takedowns against him. However, Bocek averages just over four takedowns per three round fight. If I had to rate their ground games, I’d have to give the edge to Bocek.

I like Bocek via decision or submission in this one.

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