Before the Empire, before the Republic, legend has it that Rome was ruled by seven mythical kings. Alessio Sakara, who raised himself from the streets to the status of mixed martial arts’ “King of Rome,” is a tough man, but he struggles not to sound excited when talking about his next fight.
Sakara will face Britain’s Jamie Sloane at Bellator 203 on July 14 in Rome. Fifteen years after becoming Italy’s best-known export to the world of MMA, the king is finally returning to fight in the “Eternal City.”
“I started from Rome, having nothing,” Sakara told Sherdog.com. “I was the first one who left Italy in the early 2000s and made a name for himself in the MMA business. Now I will fight in the best promotion in the world, in my city. The first time posters with my name all over the Colosseum, it was a very touching moment for me. I want my life to be an example for anyone who wants to succeed and works his ass off to make it. This is a dream of mine coming true. There has never been such an event in Rome. I don’t have to care about the weight-cut, so the people will see ‘Legionarius’ in his best shape.”
All of Italy compares Sakara to Julius Caesar, and Roman people expect their “Legionarius” to defeat his foe as if it were the glory days of the Roman Empire. Sloane, though, wants to come to Rome and kill its king.
“My opponent is a striker, which is great for me, since I am a striker myself” the ATT representative said. “He has never gone the distance as a pro, but I am used to tough strikers, since I’ve sparred a lot with Junior dos Santos in this training camp. I’ve studied him and he likes to swing a lot. Even though I am stronger than him in the ground-game, I will stand and bang with him. I like to KO my opponent. I like that feeling of adrenaline, one day I will chose to go to the ground and display all my BJJ background, but this is not the day. I think it will be a great show.”
On the subject of great shows, Sakara claims there is something in Rome’s air in these days, and that this will be a great opportunity for the city of gladiators to show that it still likes the taste of blood.
“In July, usually people run away from Rome because of the hot temperatures. This time, I am sure they will make an exception and they will flood the arena. I do not want to take any responsibility for the actions of my supporters, who will come with rockets, drums and cowbells. People are excited because of the return of the Americans to Rome. Also, there is Fedor Emelianenko who will be our special guest. And there is the number-one [kickboxer] in the world, my brother Giorgio Petrosyan, who will fight against Chingiz Allazov.”