The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the Versus network tonight for another compilation of free fights, this time rocking out the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. The main event features “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann (17-4) butting heads with the fighter previously known as “The Nightmare” and now known as “The Dream” Diego Sanchez (22-4) for one of the welterweights to take a big step closer to putting his name in the hat for a top contender spot. Wrestling fans are in for a treat with the co-main event, a match-up between “The Doberman” CB Dollaway (11-2) and “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz (7-2) that is likely to turn into a clinic on MMA wrestling between the two Div. I NCAA competitors. Kicking off the main card is the return of former WEC Bantamweight Champion Brain Bowles (8-1) looking to climb back to the top ranks following his March 2010 loss to Dominick Cruz (16-1) by taking on Jackson’s Submission Fighting graduate “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page (10-6), preceded by former UFC top lightweight contender “Daddy” Joe Stevenson (31-11) taking on WEC transplant “Last Call” Danny Castillo (9-3). A bout that is sure to be a contender for “Fight of the Night” honors pits heavy-hitting Italian striker “Legionarius” Alessio Sakara (15-7) against UFC newcomer “The All-American” Chris Weidman (4-0) in a brawl that undoubtedly will end in spectacular fashion. Let’s have a closer look at this highly-anticipated bout.
At First Glance: With a fighter like Alessio Sakara, the expected outcome is always a knockout finish either to his opponent or himself. Sakara comes out of his corner with both fists blazing toward his counterpart’s chin, always going full speed and always looking to put on a show for the UFC fans. With Sakara winning his last three fights it would certainly put him in a good spot for middleweight top contender in order to challenge the reigning champion “The Spider” Anderson Silva (28-4) for the 185lbs. title. Chris Weidman however is no push over, although he has yet to face any major players in the MMA game as Sakara has. In his own right “The All-American” has gone undefeated and earned his place as the Ring of Combat Middleweight Champion. Weidman finished three of his four fights – two by TKO and one by submission – and certainly has the wrestling skills to take Sakara to the mat with his previous experience in being a two-time NCAA Div. I All-American wrestler at Hofstra University. Plus, with Weidman training with Team Serra-Longo he has a good training camp to prepare him for the fight with Sakara, or any big name in MMA for that matter.
In Depth: Sakara tends to blast out of his corner without regard to his opponent’s skills or abilities, which sometimes earns him a notch in his loss column like in his UFC 82 bout against “The Crippler” Chris Leben (21-8), where Sakara didn’t respect Leben’s right hand and ended up getting TKO’d in the first round. Not to sell Sakara short though, as the self-proclaimed “Soldier of Rome” has massive power in both hands and has knocked out big names such as Muay Thai striker “The Sandman” James Irvin (15-8) and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Thales Leites (16-4). Should he score a victory over Weidman and go on a four-fight winning streak, it may just be enough for him to request a shot at the title. Chris Weidman is a wrestler at heart but, unlike most wrestlers he tends to finish his fights instead of using the “lay-and-pray” method of fighting. The young New Yorker has impressive Jiu-Jitsu skills that he’s shown off in MMA fights and he even competed at the famed 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship. This combination of good wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu is where Weidman stands his best chance against a striker like Sakara. Though “Legionarius” does have Jiu-Jitsu skills himself, past fights have shown Sakara is weak off of his back and with Weidman’s wrestling ability, it wouldn’t be hard to put him there for a quick submission finish.
Wild Card: Though Sakara has power in his hands, he has shown lack of control and a glass jaw in past fights. With that being said it could be Sakara’s lack of control to fail him in this fight as Weidman will capitalize on anything to get Sakara to the ground. The best way for Sakara to come out as the victor would be to knock out Weidman as quickly as possible. Should the seasoned veteran Sakara land a fist to the chin of the rookie Weidman and gain a TKO or KO win, it would be a crowd shocker to say the least.
The Verdict: Needless to say both fighters are looking to make an impact with this bout. Sakara is looking to get into a title contention position and Weidman is looking to make an impression in his first UFC fight by taking out a UFC veteran in Alessio Sakara. While “Legionarius” has the experience and the hands to finish “The All-American”, Weidman has the wrestling skills, punching power, and Jiu-Jitsu skills to make Sakara succumb to a submission or knockout. Weidman via Submission (Armbar), Round 1.