XCC Fight To Watch: Alexandre Bezerra vs Dimitre Ivy
Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra (18-4) vs. Dimitre Ivy (6-2)
It might not be quite what Xtreme Caged Combat originally had in mind when it scheduled the headliner of its 25th event, but Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra remains on the card against a new opponent. Bezerra was slated to meet Artur Rofi, a 7-1 prospect, in the finals of a four-man featherweight tournament. However, Rofi was forced to withdraw from the bout, therefore leaving XCC to find a new foe for Popo. The Philadelphia-based promotion secured the services of Dimitre Ivy, whose 6-2 record isn’t quite as shiny as Rofi’s mark, but comes pretty darned close.
If Bezerra’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it should. The Brazilian had a nine-fight stint in the Bellator organization from 2011-13. The Daddis MMA Academy product entered Bellator after accumulating an 8-1 record since debuting in 2008. He won his first five fights with the organization, including a featherweight tournament quarterfinal contest against Kenny Foster, before suffering a split-decision loss to Marlon Sandro in the tourney’s semifinal round. He claimed two more victories and advanced to another tournament semifinal, only to lose again, this time to Mike Richman. The loss signaled the end Bezerra’s stay with the organization. He won a regional fight in Brazil and then split a pair of appearances under the Cage Fury Fighting Championships banner, where he defeated Levan Makashvili to capture the league’s featherweight crown before subsequently losing to Makashvili in the pair’s rematch. He then moved to the XCC, where he defeated Frank Caraballo in his promotional debut. The 28-year-old has a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and was a member of the Brazilian national wrestling team. He has 11 submission wins and five stoppages via some form of knockout.
The 26-year-old Ivy enters this fight as a relative unknown outside of his home state of Texas. The Texas Powerhouse MMA export debuted in 2010 and suffered losses in two of his first four pro fights. He righted the ship when he made his first and only Legacy FC appearance in 2013. Ivy scored a second-round submission of Matt Mazurek to kick off a four-fight winning streak. His other recent victories, all choke submissions, came under the Fury FC and Hero FC banners. Overall, Ivy has four submission finishes and two victories via strikes. He has only seen the scorecards once in his pro career.
Despite Ivy’s lack of star power, this is a very intriguing match-up. Bezerra has a proven track record. He’s only lost to the aforementioned Sandro, Richman and Makashvili, as well as UFC standout Charles Oliveira. Ivy, meanwhile, has a well-rounded game that makes him a significant threat to turn in a breakthrough performance against an established veteran. Ivy is aggressive on the feet, where he can batter opponents with knees in the clinch, and on the ground, where his ground-and-pound and submission arsenals make him an overwhelming force. Popo is obviously no slouch in these departments either.
This contest could be an action-packed affair with plenty of momentum swings. Neither man can afford to land on the bottom when the fight hits the mat, because the other is just too good in that realm. It’s just as dangerous on the feet, where both men have proven to have plenty of power and a variety of attacks. The real difference here is Bezerra’s experience. His long stay in Bellator gave him the opportunity to clash with plenty of strong fighters. He even pushed Sandro and Richman to split verdicts, and he submitted Oliveira. While Ivy poses a significant threat, Bezerra is a veteran who is quite capable of stifling his younger opponent’s offense and answering back with plenty of offense of his own. Neither guy is easy to finish, though, so this one might end up going to the scorecards before the Brazilian has his hand raised.