From Bari to Düsseldorf by way of Paris: the long journey of Giovanni Melillo
Giovanni Melillo was born in Bari, Apulia, Italy in 1985. He started training judo at the age of 6 and continued to do so until the age of 23 reaching the rank of 1st degree black belt. In 2014 he had his pro debut as a mixed martial artist in which he won via second round TKO. He hasn’t forgotten his grappler roots, though.
If, one day, my daughter told me that she wanted to compete in MMA I’d recommend her to start by practicing a grappling sport, whether it’s Judo, Wrestling or BJJ, it doesn’t matter, they are all fine. I think that learning how to throw a punch or a kick is easier and takes less time. When you practice a grappling-based sport your body learns all those moves and they become automatic, even if you train them less.
Following his pro debut, Melillo went on a 6-fight winning streak, which was brutally interrupted by a highlight-reel head-kick TKO from current Cage Warriors welterweight champion Karl Amoussou.
It was Melillo’s only defeat inside the cage and he has been on another winning-streak since then, which includes a vicious 1st round knockout of Mohsen Bahari.
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) 6 maggio 2017
Now Giovanni is going to compete for German MMA Championship at GMC 13 in Düsseldorf for the promotion’s welterweight belt facing the current champion Kerim Engizek.
Yeah, I’ll make my debut for GMC in Düsseldorf, Germany. This opportunity materialized when I moved here at MMA Factory in Paris. The match was proposed to me by the head coach & general manager Fernand Lopez. I’m glad I’m going to be fighting for the fifth time this year so I can close 2017 with a bang.
MMA Factory is home to several UFC fighters like heavyweight title contender Francis Ngannou and Moldovian rising star Ion Cutelaba, but it’s also the gym where Karl Amoussou used to train.
I decided to come here [at MMA Factory] to grow as a fighter. I can confirm that we [European fighters] don’t need to travel overseas in order to find better training. Although France is geographically close to Italy it’s on a completely different level.
I was hoping to find Karl [Amoussou] here so we could train together, but he’s in Switzerland now. I’m not sure why he decided to leave MMA Factory; personally I never had hard feelings towards him because of my loss. He’s a great athlete.
Speaking about his future, he told us that there’s a chance he’ll fight again for Cage Warriors but he doesn’t forget his final goal, the UFC.
I’ve received offers from many promotions, including Cage Warriors. I’m currently focused on my next match at GMC, though. When I’ll won the belt — I’m 100% sure of my victory — I’ll sit down with my management and we’ll discuss my future.
My final goal is UFC, I’ve got the numbers. There’s a lot of people putting their name out there but if the UFC needs an Italian welterweight I’m the one they should call.
We expect great things for one of Italy and Europe’s most-talented fighters and can’t wait to see him compete on the biggest stages.
You can listen to the full interview in Italian here.