‘Legionarius’ meets Brian Stann in Saturday’s co-main event
It has been a long road back to action for UFC middleweight Alessio Sakara.
The Italian-born boxer turned mixed martial artist has experienced the rigors of what the grind of MMA can do to the human body. Over the past three years, such injuries have prevented him from competing at a regular pace and have only allowed him to fight at a rate of one outing per year.
But with a clean bill of health and the injuries behind him, Sakara is ready to dive back into the competitive waters of the UFC's middleweight division. Waiting for him will be American powerhouse Brian Stann, who also will look to get back in the win column when they square off in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden.
"I feel great coming into this fight," Sakara told HeavyMMA on Thursday. "I’m finally back to 100 percent and I’m very happy to be fighting on this card in Sweden because it is close to Italy, the country I was born in. It is a great position to come back and co-main event a card in Sweden. I think it is going to be a great fight and a lot of people will be watching from the surrounding countries. I also expect a lot of people to come to the arena to watch, as well.
"The last couple of years, I have had a lot of injuries and it has been frustrating. I injured my knee and had to have surgery, but now it feels strong. I am ready to go. I have always wanted to fight more than once a year, but things have come up to make it where I can’t. Hopefully now with those injuries behind me, I will be able to fight more."
Taking a look at what both fighters bring to the table, it doesn’t appear to be a far stretch that MMA fans will get to see striking on full display. Since dropping to middleweight, the accuracy and power of Stann’s standup has been too much for the majority of his opponents to handle. But the idea of two strikers proving who has the better skills has Sakara excited to trade leather with the American war hero.
"It is a very nice fight,” Sakara said. "We both have good striking and I’m very excited to fight another striker. It’s going to be a great fight. I want to knock him out and he wants to knock me out. We are both going to fight hard, and may the best man win."