MMA in MIA – well, almost!

For the second time this year the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Spike TV are broadcasting Fight Night Live from the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.

And Tuesday’s fight card is littered with local talent.

American Top Team – one of the nation’s largest and most revered mixed martial arts teams – has two of its finest doing battle June 12: Twenty three-year-old Graison “Tibau” Alves and former US Marine Luigi Fioravanti.

New Times caught up with the lads at their team’s Coconut Creek-based academy Thursday on the heels of their last group training session before the big night. Welterweight Fioravanti, who suffered one of his two career losses against Jon Fitch in UFC 68 this past March, is confident he’ll dominate Forrest “The Meat Cleaver” Petz and return home victorious.

“I’m expecting to get a knock out in the first round,” says 26-year-old Fioravanti, who joined ATT approximately eighteen months ago. “He’s a tough guy, but I train with better fighters,” he notes, motioning to the twenty or so muscular males scattered throughout the academy’s 20,000 square-foot facility. “These guys are some of the best in the business.”

UFC veteran Din Thomas – the subject of a New Times cover story this past February -- will corner for Fioravanti, alongside ATT co-owner and Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Ricardo Liborio. “Both guys should do well,” lilts the amicable Liborio. “[Alves] is a great grappler and he has good hands.” The baby-faced Alves speaks little English, but Liborio explained he heralds from a small impoverished town in North Eastern Brazil without electricity. He has fought professionally since the age of sixteen, and has yet today boasts a pro-record of 24- 3-0.

“I’m gonna fight, I’m going to attack,” he says through a translator. “I’m going for a knock out or a submission.”

Bouts begin shortly after 6:00 p.m. and broadcast live on Spike TV at 9:00 p.m.

Joanne Green

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