John Alessio celebrated his birthday two days ago, but a win in the octagon against Shane Roller at UFC 148 would trigger the biggest celebration of Alessio’s fifteen-year career.
“I’m dying to get my first UFC win,” Alessio told Fisttacuff radio of the ProMMAnow.com radio network. “I’m dying for Joe Rogan to interview me finally after a fight. I want to hear Bruce Buffer say ‘winner by knockout… John Alessio.’ You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting; my first UFC fight was at UFC 26.”
Since returning to the UFC, Alessio (34-15 MMA, 0-4 UFC) came up short on just two week’s notice against Mark Bocek at UFC 145. Facing yet another wrestler in Shane Roller (10-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC), Alessio feels that he has shored up his takedown defense and will be ready to seize that first win under the UFC banner.
“This time I’ve had eight weeks to prepare,” Alessio said. “I’ve been working diligently on my wrestling for the last eight weeks — of course a lot of defense — and offense too.
“Don’t be surprised if I take him down. I don’t think he will be expecting that. The element of surprise will always be there.”
Alessio may in fact take the fight to the mat, but insists that regardless of where the fight may go, it will likely end in fireworks on the feet.
“I really think I’m going to put him to sleep,” Alessio said. “Heads will roll, and that will be Shane Roller. I’m there to take his head off. I want fight of the night, I want knockout of the night.
“I’m here to entertain. I have a whole new attitude towards fighting. I’m not just there to win a fight. I’m not fighting not to lose. I’m there to entertain and put on the best fight I can. I’m willing to go toe-to-toe and trade with you. I want to put on the best fight possible for the fans and to impress the UFC owners.”
UFC 148 will mark fight number 50 in Alessio’s storied career, and despite the pressure to avoid back-to-back losses since his return to the UFC in early 2012, Alessio explains that excitement and energy trump any nerves that may creep into play.
“I don’t really get nervous,” Alessio said. “There are moments with nerves, but mostly I just feel excited. I’m on the biggest show of the year. I’m kicking off the televised card on FX, and I’m going to start it off with a bang. The energy I’m feeling right this moment is amazing and I can’t wait to unleash.”
So despite the fact that Alessio couldn’t properly celebrate his birthday, or partake an many of the fourth of July festivities due to his upcoming fight, he promises that the celebration will commence on the Sunday following UFC 148.
“Words cant explain how good a win is going to feel,” Alessio said. “I say ‘going to feel,’ not how good it ‘would’ feel. There is nothing I’m going to let get in my way. I’m going to knock Shane Roller out 100%. He better be ready.”