Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Luigi Fioravanti talks UFC fight against Jon Fitch

By Keith Mills

This weekend at UFC 68 American Top Team’s Luigi Fioravanti faces American Kickboxing Academy’s Jon Fitch. In the UFC Luigi is 2-1 with a loss to Chris Leben and wins over Solomon Hutcherson and Dave Menne. Between his UFC fights Luigi picked up two wins, Stephan Potvin in Apex and Hidetaka Monma in D.O.G.

KM: How do you feel about returning to the UFC this weekend?
LF: I love fighting in the UFC. I like fighting, the fans, the cage…I like everything about it.

KM: How do you feel about fighting Jon Fitch?
LF: It is a great opportunity for me considering he is ranked and who he has beaten. I look forward to throwing down a little. He is a really good fighter, got a good record, comes from a good camp, and is tough. He is a good wrestler and he likes to stand up.

KM: This is your second at Welterweight?
LF: Yes. I feel better about fighting at Welterweight actually than I do Middleweight. I felt good at 170 because I’m a small guy for 185. At Welterweight the guys aren’t as big. I’m used to fighting guys 6’2 or 6’3 and in the UFC they are a lot bigger. If I come down guys are a little easier to move around.

KM: He beat your teammate Thiago Alves. Any sense from the team perspective you need to beat this guy to avenge Alves?
LF: If Thiago and him fought now I think Thiago would murder him. I’d like to get the win back for ATT but there is no rivalry or anything like that. I don’t give a shit, I just want to win.

KM: What did you think of his fight against Hironaka?
LF: I think his mistake was trying to take down a wrestler. You have a judo guy trying to take down a wrestler, it will never happen. What he should have done was kept his distance and as soon as Fitch came in started lighting him up with the hands. He seems like he caught him a couple times but he just threw single punches, there weren’t any combinations. He ended up breaking Fitch’s nose but I plan on breaking more than that. It has been a couple months since that fight and he might have improved his standup, he might have improved his ground game. I saw some holes in that fight and hopefully I’ll capitalize when the fight comes around.

KM: Tell me about your fight against Dave Menne.
LF: It was an honor to fight Menne with his past and everything. I felt it was a big win for me. I tried to feel him out a little bit. He threw a kick to the body and I grabbed it and tried to counter with a body shot. I wasn’t expecting him to roll for a kneebar but did and I was able to get out of it. I got the better of the exchanges, he threw a kick again, and I was able to grab it again. He went to his back, I came out on top, and I hit him in the head with a punch. He went for an armbar and I was able to get out. I didn’t think he would be that crafty. Towards the end of the round I came in with big hooks and he shot in for a single on me. He didn’t try to take me down, he was just holding on to my leg and I hit him in the head with some hammer fists. McCarthy stepped in and stopped the fight, thought it was just too much for him I guess.

KM: Your three fights in the UFC so far have been on Ultimate Fight Night cards, not pay-per-view. This will be on the undercard but a much larger venue. What do you think of all that?
LF: I think it is cool. Hopefully they will show my fight.

KM: Who is going to be cornering you?
LF: Paul Rodriguez and one of my newer guys Steve Ramos.

KM: Is this the last on your contract?
LF: Actually I just signed another three-fight contract. This is the first of those.

KM: With the other start-ups like BodogFIGHT and EliteXC are you were content with UFC and if so would Thiago also in your weight class be an issue?
LF: I’m happy with the UFC. Of course this is what I do for a living so of course I need the money but I do this for the love of the sport. The other guys off more money but the UFC is where it is at.

KM: I understand your teammate Ben Saunders just fought last weekend.
LF: Yeah, he just fought in CFC and won the Welterweight belt. It was pretty exciting. Ben came out and threw a high kick and kicked the guy in the face. The kid dropped to the ground, Ben came forward, and the kid grabbed Ben’s leg. Ben sprawled, threw his leg over his back, and rolled for the armbar. It was a couple minutes in the first round.

KM: Both of you came up as dominant in the Florida Middleweight scene and now have both dropped to Welterweight.
LF: Yes. Ben normally walks around at like 180 or 185. He never gains any weight over that. He wanted to fight at 170 but never got the opportunity; all the fights that came up were at 185. He was hesitant but took the fights. Me, I’m just fat. I can afford to lose the weight.

KM: You said it, not me.
LF: It is true.

KM: Did you have anybody else on that CFC card?
LF: We had a guy who had his third fight named Jason Carapelluci. He ended up getting the biggest KO of the night.

KM: A couple weeks before that at Ultimate Warrior Challenge you were in the corner of Jeff Emerson. What can you tell us about him?
LF: He is one of our newer students actually. He came to us a couple months ago. I think he is 35 and is in really good shape with a wrestling background. He also boxed a little bit. We figured give him a shot and he ended up looking really sharp in his debut.

KM: Anything else lined up for the up-and-comers?
LF: There is a WEF card in March and we have a group of guys fighting out there. Paul Rodriguez is going to come back and we have a couple new guys.

KM: It seems like you are active in Northern Florida but not so much the Southern Florida scene like you used to.
LF: Not necessarily. We have guys that were going to fight in AFC but the show got postponed. We had guys that fought in RFC this past weekend in Tampa.

KM: I heard of RSF but don’t know much about them. Can you tell us more?
LF: It is actually a pretty good promotion. They go all-out with their production with the lights and cameras. I’d say it is right up there with CFC. James Berto who just fought in EliteXC is their Lightweight Champion. They show it all the time on the Sunshine Network.

KM: With your success in Florida and three fights in UFC can you compare and contrast being on the UFC undercard to what is going on in Florida? How much of a big deal is this next fight?
LF: It is a big deal because for one thing it is going to get my name out there. From Orlando people know the guys from the reality TV series and the top guys. I’m going to put a good show on.

KM: Sponsors to thank?
LF: I want to thank Six Deuce Gear, American Top Team, my manager Chris Cordeiro, Tapout, Italian Sweat Shop, and Brawler Fight Gear. Also everybody at ATT Orlando/Knockout Fitnes

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