UFC Vet Luigi Fioravanti Making Most of Move to 185; Faces Andrei Semenov Next

April 18, 2011

Luigi Fioravanti at the TUF 7 Finale

Luigi Fioravanti at the TUF 7 Finale

It’s become commonplace in MMA for a fighter to either move down in weight or go to a bigger club after a loss (or a couple), but American Top Team fighter Luigi “The Italian Tank” Fioravanti went the opposite route.

Following back-to-back losses last year, Fioravanti scaled back his training camp and moved up in weight to 185 pounds and has since won five fights in a row.

“(I’m) Just training with a small group of guys, instead of a large group of guys, where the focus is specifically on me and my fight,” Fioravanti told MMAWeekly.com. “I think that’s helped me a lot.

“Also, in the past, when I was fighting at 170, I cut a lot of weight and it had an effect on me in the fight.”

That’s not to say that moving up in weight hasn’t presented its own set of challenges that Fioravanti feels he needs to work on to continue to be successful.

“I’m fighting bigger opponents, so I’m trying to put some muscle on so I’m not at a disadvantage when it comes to strength,” he said. “I’m working on my wrestling and takedown defense (as well).”

On April 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia, as part of M-1 Global’s Challenge XXV event, Fioravanti will face what is possibly his toughest test yet in the middleweight division when he takes on stalwart Andrei Semenov.

The fight represents an opportunity for Fioravanti to get a win against a name opponent and move him closer to one of his goals.

“I think it’s a good fight to help me open the door to bigger shows,” commented Fioravanti. “Just to fight a name like Semenov – who has a name in the sport and who I used to watch when I was coming up – is a big opportunity.

When asked if he feels that he will have the advantage due to Semenov’s nearly three-year hiatus, Fioravanti replied, “I think so.

“I don’t know how it affected his lifestyle or training in any way, but I’ve been training and fighting, so I think I’ll have the advantage there. I’m just going to jump in there and go after him.”

While he’s confident in his stand-up, Fioravanti wants to take the fight to the mat if at all possible.

“I’d like to put him on his back and either ground and pound or submit him,” he said. “I’d like to be on top him and inflict damage on him and try to finish the fight.

“I am going to his country, his city, his organization, (and I need to try to finish him because) the odds are against me.”

While April 28 represents a big step forward for Fioravanti, he’s keen to not let it get the better of him as he continues his path towards bigger shows.

“I’m going to take each fight one at a time, focusing and concentrating and preparing for that opponent,” he stated. “That’s what I’m doing for Semenov, and after him, I’ll start doing the same for the next, because once you start looking too far to the future, that’s when you start loosing focus.”

While the changes he’s made may be unconventional in the modern state of MMA, Fioravanti has proven what he’s done works for him, making for a possible long night for Semenov in St. Petersburg.

“Check me out on April 28 on M-1Global.com,” he concluded. “Thanks to M-1, my teammates at ATT Orlando, ATT Winter Springs, and ATT Longwood, Mejiro Gym USA and the guys from The Jungle for helping me get ready for this fight.

“I’m going to be like a tank and just move forward, take what he’s got and apply a lot of punishment and pressure on him until he breaks.”

(M-1 Challenge XXV streams live on MMAWeekly.com, Thursday at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET.)