Bleacher Report followed up with victorious Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara after his fight with James “Sandman” Irvin at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones.
Sakara dominated Irvin in all aspects of their stand-up battle, clocking “The Sandman” will pristine combos, until the fight was delayed—Irvin fell to the ground after what appeared to be an eye-poke—and later ended after awarding Sakara with a TKO victory due to a closed fist left-hook.
The outcome, as strange as it ended up being, would have been the same had the match continued. Sakara’s improved footwork and perfected boxing was too much for his opponent to handle—insult to injury for Irvin, who was already having difficulty cutting to 185 pounds for the fight.
The win marks the Italian’s third consecutive and fourth overall after joining the famed gym American Top Team in Florida.
JS: How did you see the fight going up until the stoppage?
Sakara: I was very confident. I landed good combinations, I kept the right distance and I was always looking for the opening.
JS: Were you at all disappointed with how the fight ended?
Sakara: I was a little disappointed because I’m always looking for the knockout. I’m sure if the fight had continued, I would have knocked him out.
JS: You could see on the replay that you obviously did not poke Irvin in the eye. What were you telling referee Josh Rosenthal during the delay?
Sakara: I was sure that it wasn’t a poke in the eye and I was trying to explain that to Josh. I was telling him that I wanted to finish Irvin, but he told me that he saw it was a punch and that’s why he came in to stop the fight.
JS: What was the game plan going in and do you feel good about how you executed your plan?
Sakara: We knew that I was faster and more skilled than Irvin. So, the strategy was to keep the right distance, throw combinations and move around.
JS: Your striking looked very crisp. All your shots and combos were getting off first on almost every exchange. Did you work harder on your stand-up during training?
Sakara: Yes, I worked a lot on my boxing during my training camp because we knew it would be a stand-up fight. I think all the hard work paid off….
JS: Do you think the weight cut affected Irvin’s performance?
Sakara: It might have affected his performance a bit, but overall I think he didn’t have the opportunity to set up power punches because of my speed, movements and combinations.
JS: How was your experience cutting to 185 for this fight?
Sakara: I have to be honest with you; this time was very hard for me, as you can see from my video blog. Irvin wasn’t the only one having weight problems, I lost nine pounds the day of the weigh-ins. Next time, I’ll be more concerned about it.
JS: Were you worried that fighting at such a high altitude would affect your cardio or performance?
Sakara: No, I wasn’t worried about it. I trained at ATT Altitude, Bobby Lashley’s new academy in Colorado, for awhile.
JS: You’re now on a three-fight winning streak, what’s next for Legionarius? How often would you like to fight this year and who do you think your next opponent will be?
Sakara: I don’t know how many times I’m going to fight this year because I have a lot of stuff going on in Italy. But I definitely want to fight big names. A fight with Michael Bisping would be great—I like his style.
JS: Lastly, how will you celebrate your victory?
Sakara: I’m going to celebrate back in Italy with my family and friends.
JS: Thanks for talking with us Alessio.
Sakara: No problem, thank you guys at Bleacher Report.