Shane Roller Didn’t Need to Respond to “Frustrated” John Alessio, “I Let My Actions Speak For Themselves”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Although many fighters will tell you that their next fight is more important than their last, that was especially true for Shane Roller heading into UFC 148 this past Saturday. Having lost three straight bouts, the 32 year-old-fighter not only came through in a must win situation, but he did so by defeating the veteran John Alessio.
“He’s got 50 fights under his belt and he’s been fighting in top notch organizations for a long time,” Roller said about Alessio, who he defeated by unanimous decision. “I think he was part of UFC 26 and I watched him fight a lot in the WEC, so anytime you get a win over a guy like that it’s a good thing.”
“Anytime you step in the cage it’s important to get the win, but this time I was pretty sure if I lost I would be cut, but I thought that last time,” Roller added.
While Roller has worked extensively on his striking skills, and has demonstrated KO power in the Octagon before, his well documented wrestling abilities were the deciding factor Saturday. Although Roller was unable to submit Alessio or land any fight ending blows on the ground, his takedowns and top game were too much for the Xtreme Couture fighter.
“I always feel like that’s my advantage over anybody, my wrestling and jiu-jitsu,” said Roller, who was a three time All American wrestler at Oklahoma University. “Sometimes if you go in there just one minded, it’s hard to set up your wrestling. If they don’t respect your hands then they know you’re shooting and it’s harder to get the takedown.”
Accordingly, Roller traded with the noted striker early on, before turning to his wrestling as the fight progressed.
“I definitely wanted to go in there an exchange with him and I think it worked,” Roller furthered. “I landed some good punches on him, he caught me with some good shots too, but I think I showed enough of my stand-up where he had to be worried about it.”
While Roller securing a much needed win was one post-fight storyline, so was Alessio’s frustration during the bout. As the fight approached its end, and Roller continued to work from the top position, Alessio yelled at Roller to “fight” rather than “ride” him.
“He apologized to me on Twitter and stuff, so far as that goes, he was just frustrated,” Roller told Full Contact Fighter. “I was controlling him from his back and he got a little frustrated because he couldn’t get up. I’m sure he knew he was going to lose the fight.”
“I didn’t let it affect my game-plan or what I was thinking,” Roller furthered. “I was looking to finish but he was doing a really good job controlling my hands where I couldn’t do anything. It’s the same thing where he was yelling at me to fight him; he was kind of hanging on, trying to stall it out where I couldn’t start any offense.”
During the fight, Alessio’s comments didn’t appear to phase Roller, who remained focused on the task at hand.
“I’ve been around competition for a long time with wrestling, and I never really get into all the talking part of it, “said Roller. “I let my actions speak for themselves.”
And now, having secured another bout with the UFC , Roller will wait and see what comes next.
“I don’t know. I’ve never called anybody out . Whoever the UFC and Joe Silva wants to match me up with I’ll ready to go,” Roller said. “I’m excited to get back in there.”