UFC 148: Saturday, July 7, 2012 MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada UFC Lightweight Contender Shane Roller (-215) Profile: Accumulating a 6-2 record in the WEC before merging with the UFC, Shane Roller (10-6) was looked at as a considerable threat to anyone in the lightweight division. With a strong Division I wrestling background as a former three-time All-American at Oklahoma State and possessing knockout power, only Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson defeated him in the WEC. In his UFC debut, the 32-year-old earned Knockout of the Night honors with a second-round KO of Thiago Tavares at UFC Live: Sanchez vs. Kampmann. But he has dropped his last three bouts in a row since then, meaning his matchup with John Alessio at UFC 148 could be a fight for the right to stay in the organization with the loser quite possibly getting cut. UFC Lightweight Contender John Alessio (+175) Profile: John Alessio (34-15) has been everywhere and seen everything. The 32-year-old Canadian has been a pro since 1998, fighting in the early FEG era of the UFC, visiting Pride, KOTC, WEC and nearly every other organization of note over the years. Earlier in 2012, he was invited back into the UFC as a late replacement to fight fellow Canadian Mark Bocek at UFC 145 after winning 10 of his previous 11 bouts. Although his return was unsuccessful with a decision loss to Bocek, Alessio has the enormous toolbox and arsenal needed to take down any fighter in his path, and he hopes to use these skills to get back in the win column at UFC 148. Opening UFC 148 Odds Analysis: MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas made Roller a solid -215 favorite (bet $215 to win $100) while Alessio opened as a +175 underdog (bet $100 to win $175) according to the MMA odds. The pressure is on both fighters at UFC 148, as neither can afford to lose here if they want to stick around. Roller is probably the more polished of the two yet is less experienced when compared to Alessio. However, Alessio will be fighting for just the third time at lightweight after moving down from welterweight and has yet to really be tested against a quality opponent. In fact, Alessio has not beaten a top-notch fighter in his MMA career, losing to the likes of Carlos Condit, Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez more than five years ago. Roller has not enjoyed a lot of succes in the UFC so far, but he did earn Submission of the Night against Jamie Varner at WEC 53 and followed that up with a dominant performance against Tavares in his UFC debut within the last two years. He has simply fought better opponents more recently and should be hungrier to end his skid.
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