Mark Bocek (left) celebrates his victory over John Alessio (right) in the opening bout of the UFC 145 main card. Photo by Esther Lin via MMA Fighting
It had been 12 years since Alessio made his UFC debut back at UFC 26, losing a 170 pound title shot to then-champion Pat Miletich, but this time he was more experienced, taking things more seriously and was in a new weight class.
But unfortunately for the Xtreme Couture veteran, his opponent Bocek was just too strong.
So what did Bocek do to keep Alessio's monkey firmly on his back? And what's next for both experienced lightweights?
Follow me after the jump for our Mark Bocek vs. John Alessio UFC 145 fight review and analysis:
Alessio had a reach and striking advantage, but Bocek did a terrific job of closing the distance early with lunging hooks. After they were thrown, he was in prime position to either drop for a single leg takedown or to push Alessio into the fence and try to dump him on his back from the clinch.
Bocek's tactics were successful and he routinely stifled Alessio's superior boxing all fight long. To his credit, Alessio wasn't dead weight on the ground. He worked very hard to try to retain his guard and eventually was able to get back to his feet just about every time, but he couldn't do it nearly quick enough to get back any of the points Bocek earned.
Also, Bocek was aggressive from half guard on top with big elbows and ground and pound thrown. He seemed to be very comfortable in that position, routinely posturing up to drop down some punishment.
Alessio finally started to get things going in the third round as Bocek didn't take him down nearly as much, but it was too little, too late. He couldn't land enough damage with power to get a much-needed finish and Bocek was awarded the victory via unanimous decision.
For John Alessio, he did what he could on short notice against a top 20 lightweight talent like Bocek, but he just didn't have an answer for Bocek's takedowns, top control and ground and pound. Hopefully he gets a full training camp for his next UFC fight and he can finally get that first UFC victory.
For Mark Bocek, he did exactly what he needed to do to get the win. He controlled the distance of the fight very well, repeatedly closed the distance with takedowns and clinch attempts and made the most of his time in top position on the ground with some nice ground and pound. This was exactly the type of performance he needed to keep his momentum rolling. I'd like to see him continue to develop his striking a bit as he might be able to surprise some fighters who are very concerned about his ground game.
Bocek called out for a bigger lightweight fight and he's earned it now after putting together a short winning streak. I'd like to see him face the winner of Paul Sass vs. Jacob Volkmann. Other potential opponents include his originally intended opponent Matt Wiman (if he's healthy) or perhaps the winner of Evan Dunham vs. Edson Barboza.
So what did you think, Maniacs?
Was the result of this fight exactly what you expected? Will John Alessio ever get that first UFC victory he wants to desperately?