TORONTO - Vancouver native John Alessio is set to return to the UFC after more than a five-year hiatus from the world’s largest MMA promotion.
Alessio will replace injured Matt Wiman against Toronto’s Mark Bocek on the main card of UFC 145 in Atlanta April 21. The event will be headlined by a light-heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans.
A 14-year MMA veteran, Alessio has only made three UFC appearances over the course of his career.
At UFC 26 on June 9, 2000, he lost via submission to then-welterweight champion Pat Miletich. Alessio wouldn’t return until almost six years later, when he dropped a close unanimous decision to Diego Sanchez at UFC 60. His last octagon appearance saw him lose a unanimous decision to Thiago Alves at UFC The Final Chapter on Oct. 10, 2006.
Alessio is currently riding a three-fight win streak and has been victorious in nine of his last 10 bouts. He holds a KO victory over Luigi Fioravanti and has submitted both War Machine (formerly Jon Koppenhaver) and Pete Spratt.
BELLATOR ROLLS INTO WINDSOR
Bellator Fighting Championships returns to Canadian soil this weekend.
Welterweight champion Ben Askren will defend his belt against Douglas Lima at Bellator 64 Friday in Windsor, Ont.
A 2008 wrestling Olympian, Askren is undefeated in nine pro MMA bouts. After winning the Bellator season two 170-pound tournament, Askren defeated Lyman Good via unanimous decision to capture the title. He successfully defended the belt last October with a split-decision victory over Jay Hieron.
The winner of last year’s welterweight tourney, Lima secured his shot at Askren with a KO victory over UFC veteran Ben Saunders at Bellator 57 in Rama, Ont., in November.
Bellator 64 will also feature a slew of tournament fights. Alexandre Bezerra will face Marlon Sandro in a featherweight semifinal bout. The bantamweight quarterfinals kick off as Travis Marx meets Masakatsu Ueda and Rodrigo Lima takes on Hiroshi Nakamura.
SUPER FIGHT LEAGUE BACK ON YOUTUBE
India-based MMA promotion Super Fight League will stream its second event live on YouTube from Chandigarh Saturday, beginning at 9:15 a.m. ET.
The card, which features several UFC and Bellator veterans, will be headlined by a heavyweight scrap between Todd Duffee and Neil Grove.
Also, the winner of last season’s Bellator middleweight tournament, Alexander Shlemenko, takes on DREAM Super Hulk champion Ikuhisa (Minowaman) Minowa. British slugger Paul Kelly faces Ryan Healy in his first fight since getting cut from the UFC roster.
SFL recently announced a three-year deal to stream events free on YouTube. Its first card took place last month in Mumbai and saw James Thompson defeat Bob Sapp after Sapp sustained a knee injury only minutes into the bout.
WAITING IN WINGS FOR GSP-CONDIT WINNER
Though a date has yet to be announced for the title unification bout between Georges St. Pierre and Carlos Condit, the UFC is wasting no time determining who is next in line after the two finally meet.
Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger will battle to crown a welterweight No. 1 contender in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale in Las Vegas June 1.
Neither Kampmann nor Ellenberger have crossed paths with St. Pierre, but both fighters have a history with Condit.
Kampmann is the last person to beat the interim welterweight champion, winning an entertaining split-decision at Fight Night 18 three years ago.
Since losing a split decision to Condit at Fight Night 19 on Sept. 16, 2009, Ellenberger has put together an impressive six-fight win streak with victories over Diego Sanchez, Jake Shields and Sean Pierson.
Though Martin Kampmann and Jake Ellenberger have 56 combined fights, they have only fought four common opponents.
Kampmann lost via unanimous decision
Ellenberger won via unanimous decision
Kampmann lost via split decision
Ellenberger won via TKO
Kampmann won via split decision
Ellenberger lost via split decision
Kampmann won via KO
Ellenberger won via unanimous decision