Alessio Sakara is by far the best-known Italian fighter in mixed martial arts, having spent eight years in the Ultimate Fighting Championship before joining Bellator MMA. After a promising start in the Scott Coker-led promotion, Sakara was awarded a shot at middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 190 on Dec. 9. It did not go as he had hoped, as “Legionarius” was on the receiving end of a brutal knockout loss 45 seconds into the first round.
“There isn’t much to say because it was a short fight,” Sakara told Sherdog.com. “I took a shot which seemed harmless, but I went blind after that. I started backing away because I was completely blind; that was what bothered me the most. I don’t have any excuses. My training camp was the best I’ve ever had. I felt confident in the cage, and I sought out my opponent. He was the better man that night.”
Fighting in the middleweight division took its toll on Sakara. After suffering through a four-fight losing streak, the American Top Team representative parted ways with the UFC and moved up to 205 pounds. Thanks to his resolve, his results in the cage improved. Sakara has gone 3-1 with one no-contest since, with the one defeat coming as a middleweight.
“I will never fight in the middleweight division again,” he said. “It would be like someone trying to open a safe with the wrong combination. I don’t want to blame the weight cut for my last loss, but 185 pounds is not my weight class. I’ve known that since I left the UFC. I feel confident at 205 pounds, even though I may seem small for a light heavyweight. I am counting down the hours until I can fight against the best Bellator strikers at 205. Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva … I would like to fight against someone who likes to strike.”
Sakara will next face British export Jamie Sloane at Bellator 203 on July 14 in Rome. Sloane has never gone the distance as a pro.
“I have to prove that 205 is my division again,” Sakara said. “It’s OK for me to fight someone who’s making his debut in Bellator. I like him because he’s a striker and he’s very heavy-handed. It’s like when you fall off a horse; you have to get back on immediately. That’s also the case with me. I got knocked out, so I need to fight against a striker. That’s what I want.”
Sakara will be competing in Rome for the first time in 15 years.
“I love fighting in Italy, and I learned to turn the pressure into positive energy” he said. “I will be fighting in front of the people of my hometown. I can only imagine what’s going to happen in that arena. I’ve spent most of my career outside of Italy, so a lot of my fans couldn’t come support me. This time, people from Rome and Pomezia are going to flood the arena.”
In addition to MMA, Sakara has dabbled in acting. He has appeared in two movies and has also guest starred on two television shows. Even so, the 36-year-old has not lost his focus on combat sports.
“I’ll stop fighting at 42,” Sakara said. “I love fighting too much, and I’m sure my body can handle this sport. In the meantime, I’m studying acting. I prefer shooting movies to television shows. I’d like to bring the action-comedy genre back in Italy.”