11/01/2012 11:35 EDT | Updated 01/01/2013 05:12 EST

Veteran MMA fighter Alessio returns to top card on Vancouver island

VICTORIA - After 14 years away, John Alessio is coming home to fight.

The 33-year-old from Duncan, B.C., who now calls Las Vegas home, returns to Victoria on Saturday to meet Dave (The Pain Train) Mazany in the 160-pound main event of Aggression FC 13.

Alessio (34-16) has been fighting professionally since 1998 with several stints in the UFC as well as WEC, Pride and other organizations.

For promoter Jason Heit, it's a welcome homecoming.

"I started training John when he was 15," said Heit.

Heit stopped to fill up at a Vancouver island gas station and Alessio saw some Gracie Jiu-Jitsu stickers on his car.

"He started asking me about it and was stoked to train. He wanted to train. I gave him my number, the kid came over and we started training."

Heit, who was working out of a garage at the time, helped Alessio in the early part of his career. Both eventually went south to further their fighting careers.

"He's gone on to do some great things," Heit said of the well-travelled Alessio.

"He hasn't fought here since '98. We're really excited to get him back."

Alessio is coming off UFC losses to Canadian Mark Bocek and Shane Roller.

Also on the pro portion of the card at Bear Mountain Arena, former UFC middleweight Kendall (Da Spyder) Grove (15-10) takes on Ariel Gandulla (8-7), featherweight Diego Wilson (6-1) tackles Louis Fisette (4-1), middleweight David Perron (4-1) meets Dan MacIver (6-2), lightweight Tristan Connelly (3-3) fights Myles Merola (9-7) and middleweight Ryan Janes (4-1) faces Keto Allen (6-5).

Bill Fraser (3-6) meets Miles Arnstead at 180 pounds.

Mazany (10-4) trains at Wanderlei Silva's gym in Las Vegas and has won six of seven since being stopped by Canadian Ryan Ford in May 2009.

The fight card is the latest show by the Aggression Fighting Championship, which was created by the April union of Edmonton-based Aggression MMA, Victoria-based Armageddon FC and Calgary-based AX Combat.

The promotion has TV deals with American cable channel YouToo and KoldCast, a web TV network.