Alessio Di Chirico has had ups and downs over the span of his UFC tenure to date, but he thinks he’s moving in the right direction.
At UFC on ESPN 30, Di Chirico (13-5 MMA, 3-5 UFC) will look to turn a standalone win into a winning streak when he faces Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC).
“He is a very dangerous opponent,” Di Chirico recently told MMA Junkie through a translator. “Don’t think I’ll sleep on him. I am well prepared for everything and I’ll tell you a secret: every fighter in the UFC can knock you down with a single shot. So there’s no joke, I’ll be wide awake.”
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Di Chirico, like many fighters, had to make adjustments on the fly. He feels lucky to be able to compete in Las Vegas during a time when many international fighters are being forced to withdraw due to travel restrictions.
“Yes the situation, as I said, is crazy,” Di Chirico said. “Year-and-a-half of this sh*t, it’s unbelievable. To be honest, the situation it’s worse than you can even imagine and that’s why I told you before I’m so grateful to be here in Vegas for a UFC fight. I was lucky enough during this camp to have all the help I needed.
“My Friend Nikola Dipchikov, a very solid fighter, and ACA finalist came to give me a lot of help during the last weeks of the camp. Everything happened under the vision of my mystic head coach Michele Verginelli and all the people in my team, It’s hard to express how grateful I am to every one of them, I really can’t wait to express that into the octagon.”
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Di Chirico, 31, reentered the win column in powerful fashion in January when he halted the momentum of Joaquin Buckley with a vicious head kick knockout. He thinks the win is the first of many – as he marches toward proving a point that he is one of the world’s best.
“I will take back what belongs to me not only in 2021 but also in the years to come,” Di Chirico said. “I’ve been discontinuous and I made some mistakes but I know for sure and I will demonstrate that I am one of the best European fighters.”
UFC on ESPN 30 takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The main card airs on ESPN/ESPN+ after prelims on ESPN+.