Mark Bocek (10-4-0) vs. John “The Natural” Alessio (34-14-0)
There is no better definition for gatekeeper in the UFC than Mark Bocek, because he beat everyone outside the top of the division with 3 of his 4 losses coming to the top 5 in the division. John is a 14 year fight veteran, and he first entered the UFC all the way back at UFC 26. He will try to show he belongs by getting his first win in the octagon.
Mark has always been seen as a ground fighter, because of his reliance on his Jiu -Jitsu skills. Those submission skills were never matched with great takedown skills as Bocek was out-wrestled by former opponents, but he may have turned the corner in his last fight with Nik Lentz. This will be a great test for him as Alessio will be able to compete with Mark wherever the fight goes, and he will force Mark to adapt his game as the fight progresses.
John was always a decent fighter at welterweight who would go on great fight streaks, but would hit a roadblock. Recently he dropped to lightweight in a hopes to change the state of his career from just a journeyman to something more, and at 32 years of age he still has time to prove himself. John’s recent drop to lightweight is the smartest move he could make, and with a win over a quality opponent in Bocek he may prove to be a force to reckon with.
If Bocek wants to win this fight he needs to get it to the ground, but that’s if he can. John will clearly be the bigger fighter since he was not small at Welterweight, and while he may be no slouch on the ground, he should keep the fight standing. John may have 14 submission wins, but 7 of his losses come by submission as well, so he may want to keep this fight standing.
The Bottom Line: Mark will need to get this fight to the ground, but John will make him unable to. Once Mark is forced to stand and trade he will not fade, but he will not be in control. Look for John to cruise to his first UFC win with a unanimous decision.