With Matt Wiman Injured, Mark Bocek Says He’s Fighting John Alessio at UFC 145

John Alessio (UFC)

Alessio returns to UFC for first time since 2006

An injury has forced Matt Wiman out of his fight at UFC 145, and that has opened up the doors for a veteran to make a long-awaited return to the UFC.

With Wiman out of his lightweight bout against Mark Bocek, John Alessio gets the call to take his place. Bocek announced the news Tuesday on his Twitter feed.

UFC 145 is slated for April 21 at Philips Arena in Atlanta with a main event light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and former champ Rashad Evans.

Alessio (34-14, 0-3 UFC) will be looking for his first UFC victory after three previous one-fight stints with the promotion. At UFC 26 in June 2000, Alessio was submitted by Pat Miletich. Nearly six years later, he got his next crack at the big time, but was outpointed by a then-unbeaten Diego Sanchez at UFC 60. After a win in the WEC before that promotion was owned by Zuffa, Alessio got one more shot – but suffered a unanimous decision setback to Thiago Alves. All three of Alessio’s UFC losses have come at the hands of UFC champions or UFC title challengers.

Alessio returns to the UFC on the strength of 10 wins in his last 11 fights, including victories over notables such as Chris Clements, who coincidentally makes his promotional debut at UFC 145, Ryan Healy and UFC veterans War Machine and Luigi Fioravanti. Alessio had a fairly successful run in the WEC, going 5-2 and challenging for the welterweight title against Carlos Condit, a bout he lost by second-round rear naked choke with just one second left in the frame. He has also competed for Pride, Dream and MFC over the years.

Bocek (10-4, 6-4 UFC) is looking for his first winning streak since 2009. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt got back in the win column in December in front of his home crowd in Toronto with a unanimous decision victory over Nik Lentz at UFC 140. At UFC 129, also in his Toronto home, Bocek lost a unanimous decision to Ben Henderson. Four of Bocek’s last five wins have come by submission, including a pair of Submission of the Night wins.

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