A middleweight match-up that has been on again and off again for the better part of a year will finally be taking place…or so we hope.
Alessio Sakara, at one time a budding contender to the middleweight title, will be pitted to meet with another derailed contender Jorge Rivera. The two men were scheduled to meet two times before, but third time might be the charm.
Now, the two strikers will square off opposite one another at UFC 133, which takes place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In his last outing, Alessio put his wrestling to the test when he was pitted against top prospect Chris Weidman, who has emerged as a formidable force in the middleweight division. In the end, Sakara was unable to stop the takedowns of the former Division I collegiate wrestler, and in the end lost by unanimous decision. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak amassed inside the octagon, which included a decision win over one-time title challenger Thales Leites.
Rivera, meanwhile is coming off of a loss of his own against rival Michael Bisping at UFC 127. The two men met as the co-main event of the evening and the heat between these two was boiling before the fight began, with both men trading jabs at one another which crossed the line several times over. In the end, Bisping was the winner via second-round TKO. The bout was mired in controversy where in the first-round, Michael connected on a blatantly illegal knee to the head when Rivera had both his knees on the ground. The effect of the blow could have very well have effected his performance, though nothing is certain. The loss also snapped a three-fight win streak for Rivera as well, which included a second-round knockout of one-time title challenger Nate Quarry.
After failing to meet at UFC 118 when Rivera bowed out due to an arm injury, and again at UFC 122 some months later when Sakara caught a last minute case of the flu, the two seemed now poised for a collision course to face off against one another. Hopefully now the bout will not fail to materialize.
So, MMA peeps, what do you think of the match-up? Who do you favor? And do you think the fight is actually going to happen this time around? Sound off in the comment section below.