World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report: #8 - Matt Fiordirosa

Matt "Sunshine" Fiordirosa. Does that name ring a bell? Back in August of 2007, Matt was featured on the TapouT television show on Versus, a series in which the late Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr., Tim "Skyscrape" Katz, and Dan "Punkass" Caldwell visited up-and-coming prospects, sponsored them, and traveled with them to upcoming bouts. Fiordirosa was featured in the seventh episode of the first season as a standout wrestler from Crystal Lake, Illinois who amassed a record of 8-1 under the tutelage of Jeff Curran. To say that there was hype surrounding "Sunshine" is a bit of an understatement. There were fans and critics alike believing Fiordirosa would be one of the next great featherweight fighters.

Strangely, Fiordirosa disappeared off the radar after pounding out Randy Ronchi in June of 2007. From more recent interviews, Fiordirosa went through some rough times in his personal life, but he also smartly thought about a future after fighting. Injuries, family problems, and the drive to complete his degree all sidetracked his mixed martial arts career, but Matt has returned to the sport. With two fights under his belt in the latter third of 2010, the 25-year-old could finally live up to the hype.

Offensive Skills: Fiordirosa embodies your protoypical Midwestern wrestler. Overwhelming power, relentless cardio, and a surprisingly powerful top game. He has all the tools to double and single leg his way to the floor and crush his opponents, and he's done that for the majority of his career. The real kicker is that Matt was dominating veteran opponents when he was only 22 years old, but his personal life sidetracked him before he could ever get the attention of bigger promotions.

Defensive Skills: Defensively, his wrestling serves as a means to escaping the unpredictability of the striking game. As many saw during his battle with boxer Khristian Geraci on the TapouT show, Fiordirosa falls back to what he knows when he's hurt. He uses his wrestling to neutralize his opponents' superior striking skills, and he's proven in the past that credentials don't mean much in mixed martial arts. Look no further than his win over Chase Beebe for proof of that.

It's difficult to assess exactly where Matt needs to improve defensively as he's normally the alpha male in any fight. His submission defense and control on the ground could use some seasoning as better grapplers will give him fits on the floor, and his stand-up defense, if he actually intends to stand for a prolonged period of time, would need work as well.

Progression: From 2005 to 2007, the noticeable improvement was in the power department as Matt began working away from submissions and working to more dominant positions to pound out opponents. He became quite proficient in his last three bouts before his layoff, although the strength of his competition was very low at that point. In his return, it's been much of the same, but the goal for Fiordirosa is to get back into shape and back to form before he tries to take on better fighters.

Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight

#8 - Matt Fiordirosa
#9 - Isaac DeJesus
#10 - Michel Gagnon

#1 - Thiago Michel
#2 - Ricardo Tirloni
#3 - Magno Almeida
#4 - Ui Cheol Nam
#5 - Henrique Mello
#6 - Reza Madadi
#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 - Ole Laursen
#9 - Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 - Al Iaquinta
#1 - Yuri Villefort
#2 - Alex Garcia
#3 - Erick Silva
#4 - Douglas Lima
#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos
#6 - Jesse Juarez
#7 - Gunnar Nelson
#8 - Quinn Mulhern
#9 - Alberto Mina
#10 - Joe Ray

Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#1 - Papy Abedi
#2 - Chris Weidman
#3 - Vitor Vianna
#4 - Vyacheslav Vasilevsky
#5 - Bruno Santos
#6 - Costantinos Philippou
#7 - Jordan Smith
#8 - Uriah Hall
#9 - Victor O'Donnell
#10 - Assan Njie
#1 - Marcos Pezao
#2 - Gian Villante
#3 - Jimi Manuwa
#4 - Glover Teixeira
#5 - Jan Blachowicz
#6 - Yoel Romero
#7 - Ryan Jimmo
#8 - Nik Fekete
#9 - Marcus Vanttinen
#10 - Ronny Markes

Environment: Fiordirosa trained with Jeff Curran a few years ago, but there was a bit of a break during his return a couple of years ago. Today, he's back with the team that got him started in the sport, which is very good for his future. Obviously, Curran has dropped off the map as a competitive fighter in the upper-echelon of the featherweight division, but he still is highly-regarded in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community in the Midwest and around the world. He should be able to shore up the holes in Matt's ground game and add a submission game to Matt's dominant top control.

Potential: The mental game is often overlooked in mixed martial arts, but it pertains to Matt's situation significantly. He's had some rough times pop up in his personal life over the last few years, and it has hurt his participation in mixed martial arts. He seems to have his future in mind however, and that's a smart observation for such a young fighter.

Fiordirosa is a bit of a risky pick. It's unknown whether he'll ever make it back to fighting top featherweight fighters, but his wrestling prowess, strength, and relentless cardio make him a threat to anyone put in front of him. He's a guy who went toe-to-toe with Wagnney Fabiano in only his second professional bout, and he didn't succumb to the submission skills of a world class Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He has all the skills to succeed, and his continued focus on coaching wrestling in combination with his training at Team Curran should put him on the minds of up-and-coming fighters in the area. You won't want to meet Matt across the cage from you.

Video:

Matt "Sunshine" Fiordirosa highlight video

Matt Fiordirosa on TapouT

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