Bellator 139: John Alessio Says It’s Only a Matter of Time Before he Tests The Chin of David Rickels
By Kelsey Mowatt
John Alessio has been tapped to fight David Rickels tonight at Bellator 139, and although some of his opponents have looked to avoid his striking game, “The Natural” doesn’t expect “The Caveman” to go that route.
On paper, tonight’s bout features two lightweights who are known for their aggressive and pressuring approaches. But, if you review Alessio’s recent outings, his losses came against opponents who utilized their wrestling and grappling skills to score decision wins.
Recently, Rickels (16-3) acknowledged that he’s documented the approach that was taken against Alessio, but that he’s “partial to stand-up.” When Alessio (35-17) talked to Full Contact Fight Radio, he relayed he’d be surprised if “The Caveman” immediately looked to take the fight down.
“I don’t expect him to do that,” said Alessio. “I actually expect him to come and trade and fight. I could be completely naive and wrong, because that’s normally what his style is, and he might try to go to the gameplan that he saw other people beat me with, but I don’t feel like he’s the wrestler that Shane Roller is.”
“You know what I mean?” The 35 year-old added. “I don’t think he has the jiu-jitsu, and is the wrestler that Mark Bocek is. You know? I don’t think he has that good of abilities when it comes to wrestling. If anything, I think that I could be a better wrestler than him. So, I don’t think that he’s going to try to take me down and hold me there. He might try to take me down, but I think it’s going to be more of a jiu-jitsu fight, not so much as ‘I’m going to try to pin you down and ride out the rounds.”
While Alessio expects Rickels to come out guns blazing, he also believes that could be the 26 year-old’s downfall.
“He brings the fight to people, which could be his strength, but I find that to be his weakness,” said Alessio. “I’m a really good counter puncher, counter fighter, I like to work on people making mistakes, and I feel like that’s where he’s going to fall victim to something I’m going to capitalize on.”
The lightweight is coming off a decision win over Davi Ramos, but in his last four bouts, Rickels has incurred stoppage losses to Michael Chandler and Patricky Freire.
“The stoppage losses that he has are sticking out for me as points to try to exploit,” said Alessio, when asked if he believes the defeats could have planted doubts in Rickel’s mind. “I feel like I can test his chin. I hit hard, I hit accurate, and if he’s going to try to stand in front of me, it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when…I believe it will happen within that fifteen minutes that he’ll give me the right opportunity to land that right punch that’s going to change the whole outcome of the night.
Bellator 139 will be hosted by the Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. The main card will be broadcast on SPIKE.