by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The top athletes at American Top Team continue to grow and get big fights each and every day. From Thiago Alves taking his shot at Georges St. Pierre at UFC 100 for the UFC welterweight title, to Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante fighting Tatsuya Kawajiri in Dream later this month, the Florida based American Top Team produces some of the best talent in the mixed martial arts world.
Beyond the names already mentioned, the team also boasts a slew of talented fighters that will likely be hitting the main stage of the UFC, Strikeforce, or another organization very soon.
ATT’S YOUNG GUNS
Some of the great young talent will be on display over the next month, starting this Thursday night in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as Yuri “The Fury” Villefort, younger brother of UFC welterweight Danillo Villefort, looks to start his career at 2-0 when he competes at “Extreme Fight Nights.” Villefort currently competes at 170 pounds, but will look to make his big move at 155 pounds down the road.
Along with Villefort, fellow teammate and pro Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach Marcos Da Matta leads the way in the main event for the show looking to build on his already impressive 5-0 record. Also on the card will be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Mundial champion Jonatas “Tagarela” Gurgel, who fights Thursday and again on May 24 in Mississippi.
FIORAVANTI HEADS TO ITALY
Former UFC welterweight Luigi Fioravanti will look to rebound from a tough loss in February to Anthony Johnson, when he heads overseas to Rome, Italy, to headline a card in June.
Fioravanti hopes to build back to another shot at the UFC, or possibly another major organization, and the fight in Italy will be the first step. Also traveling to Italy from American Top Team will be former Hofstra wrestler turned MMA fighter Rich Attonito, who will compete in a 185-pound fight on the same card.
PITTSBURGH WELCOMES MMA AND ATT
The state of Pennsylvania ratified the rules and regulations for MMA earlier this year, and promotions are wasting no time making their way to the Keystone state. While the UFC will head to Philadelphia in August, Ultimate Cage Fighting Championship will let the Steel City of Pittsburgh play host to its June 27 show at Mellon Arena.
The card will feature a main event pitting former UFC, EliteXC and Pride fighter Yves Edwards in a fight against former WEC welterweight Kyle Jensen.
Former UFC fighter Steve Bruno makes his return to action on the card as well against Dustin Winterholt, while Micah Miller will also appear on the show against an as of yet unnamed opponent.
The only thing that could cause some stress for fighters on the show is the current stipulation that everybody will have same-day weigh-ins for the event.
MASVIDAL BACK IN BELLATOR
Following a loss in one of the craziest submissions ever seen in MMA, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal will look to bounce back on May 19 for the Bellator Fighting Championships when he faces Eric Reynolds in a lightweight contest.
Masvidal was a heavy favorite to fight in the finals of the 155-pound tournament, but because of the upset loss to Toby Imada, he will look to exact revenge against his next opponent instead.
Reynolds steps into the fight after suffering a defeat at the hands of top five lightweight Eddie Alvarez, which put him out of the lightweight tournament as well.
MONSON WORLD TOUR
Known as one of the busiest fighters in all of MMA, Jeff Monson will return to action on June 6 in Aruba at the Vengeance Fighting Championships against Chase Gormley. The former UFC heavyweight made quick work of Russian Sergei Kharitonov, for his last fight while in Dream. Ever the opportunist, he will stay active in June as well.
Currently, Monson doesn’t have any other fights on the docket, but as the representatives of American Top Team will say, he could be anywhere at any time for his next fight.