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Bellator 152's Brian Rogers looks forward to ruining Alessio Sakara's homecoming in Italy this weekend

Bellator MMA

Bellator comes to Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy on April 16, 2016, with Bellator 152: "Pitbull vs. Souza" and Bellator Kickboxing: "Torino" on the same night. Patricky "Pitbull" Freire and Kevin Souza will collide in the main event of the evening.

However, a fight that may be just as anticipated in Torino this weekend is the co-main event between Italy's own Alessio Sakara -- who is making his promotional debut -- against Brian Rogers, who is coming in off a technical knockout win over Db Akil in Austria.

Rogers would like to spoil the homecoming party for Sakara. He looked like a new improved "Professional Predator" in his submission of Virgil Zwicker at Bellator 147 at Light Heavyweight. And he's delivered other highlight-reel finishes in the Bellator cage.

What Rogers needs most, though, is momentum -- the exciting fighter hasn't put together back-to-back wins since 2011. In a recent chat with, Rogers reveals cutting to Middleweight for so many years just wasn't paying off.

"The cut to 185 was just becoming too much and it was starting to have diminishing returns on my performance. I decided to make a judgment and kinda listen to my body to see where it was going and adjust my strength and conditioning and it's been paying off so far."

A change in weight class definitely improved his performance in Bellator, but to hear Rogers tell it, the previous Bellator regime's tournaments may also have been a factor in his win-loss column.

"I wasn't having a chance to develop much as a fighter in the early days because of the tournaments. You'd have two fights versus top opponents a matter of 30 days apart. It's kind of hard to change things. I got into Bellator, I was only 27, I had seven wins and two losses and a six-fight win streak -- and I got thrown right into the tournaments. Nowadays, if that were to happen I'd have some under card bouts and be fighting other prospects."

Rogers is far from bitter about it. He's thankful for the chances Bellator gave him as a young man.

"Everything happens for a reason. I wouldn't really change the way it happened. It got me some big opportunities and some big wins and some cash in my pocket at the time. I think it had a lot to do (though) with my up and down success."

Fresh off his win over Zwicker, the time has come for Rogers to put it all together. He's fighting at a comfortable weight, he's had a full camp, and he doesn't even mind that he's going into hostile territory in Torino.

"I was fortunate to play to football in college at Walsh University. I always relished the away games more than the home games. I liked going into other people's backyards and potentially ruining their day. We were in California last fight when I fought Zwicker and people were definitely in his corner and there for him. I'm fine with that, I'm fine with adversity. I live in Denver but I'm from Ohio and I have an 'Ohio against the world' mentality."

If he wins and stays injury-free in Italy, Rogers would like to have a much busier schedule in 2016.

"The only time I'm getting paid is when I'm fighting and busy. You know I haven't been very active the last couple of years just because of some things out of my control. Ideally I'd like to get this victory in April and then I'd like to fight in July, and I'd love a fight at the beginning of fall or the end of fall. It would be nice to get three to four in but if there was more I'm here to take 'em."

Staying active starts at Pala Alpitour in Torino as noted. I asked Rogers to break down Sakara as a fighter before his date with destiny in Italy.

"You know he's got really good hand speed. He's a traditional, professionally-trained boxer, so like most boxers they're going to throw their strikes a little crisper and a little cleaner than most traditional MMA athletes. So that's his biggest thing is his boxing and his hand speed -- it's better than most."

Rogers also gave his view on whether Sakara would feel any additional pressure making his Bellator debut in his home country.

"It's a big opportunity for him with a lot of weight (and) a lot of pressure on his shoulders. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter where we're at though you know what I mean? When they lock those doors it's two people going at it."

Ready to perform at the highest level on the grandest stage, Rogers vows that this is only the beginning for him. And he has his goals set high.

"We don't have any official Bellator rankings, but (I) just want to work my way up the ladder and get that (title) shot and that opportunity. A championship, a title brings some money and some fame and whatnot (but) I got into this because I love competing."

The more times fight fans see Brian Rogers on that Bellator highlight reel the closer to that shot he'll be.

Complete audio of our interview is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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