Heading north: an interview with Yari Orsini, ready to debut in CAGE MMA

An interview with the #4 bantamweight in Italy, ready to debut in the Finnish CAGE MMA promotion against Abdul Hussein

November 25th will be a day of fire for Italian MMA. Among the many fighters that will represent Italy abroad, the guy who went as far away as possibile is undoubtedly Yari Orsini (6-1 MMA, 0-0 CAGE), the current #4 bantamweight to MMA Ranking Italia. In fact, “The Worker” will fight in the Finnish CAGE MMA promotion in Helsinki against Abdul Hussein (3-0 MMA, 3-0 CAGE) for the Cage MMA 41 event. We contacted Yari to know his thoughts before the match and, thanking him for his availability, we give you his answers:

MMA Today: You’re fighting your next match at flyweight, In the past, you have fought mainly in the bantamweight division. How are you feeling in this weight category? What are the differences between these two categories for you?

Yari Orsini: My natural weight is 62 / 63kg but in the past I weighed less, about 58kg. I managed to put on this extra mass after my transition to Igor Nencioni’s team who, as a grappler, gave great importance to the development of my body. Before, instead, my team was more focused on striking and my weight situation was less considered. In Italy, therefore, I often accept matches at the 61 kg limit but every time I do, I realize that I give away too much weight difference to my opponents, who often appear on the day of the match with a weight of 68 or 70 kilos. Despite my positive record, I realize that the game is not worth the candle, as with the rise of the level of competition this difference becomes more and more marked. The choice to fight in 57kg, therefore, is due to the fact that in this category I feel more competitive. In this situation I have a weight advantage. That’s what I do mainly when I fight abroad. I confess, however, that I have already given my word for a match at bantamweight for the event that Magnum will hold in Romania in the coming months, if the match in Finland will go well. In this case, it was due to my warrior spirit, I have never refused a match and also this time it will this way. My opponent will probably weigh around 70kg and he will look like a real “cube” of muscles; but I’m a fighter, so I’ll fight until the end.


MT: You’ll face an unbeaten but less experienced opponent. Do you think your greatest experience will be your extra weapon? Or will you take advantage of some weakness you saw by analyzing your opponent? Did you have to study Abdul Hussein in depth? What kind of fighter is he?

YO: I know he’s both an amateur and a pro champion and he’s also a IMMAF world champion, so its inexperience is more due to age rather than to the number of matches he actually fought in. I studied him though and consider him a good athlete. He will also have the audience in his favor, being the hometown favorite. Considering all this, I think I will have to win by KO, because, while fighting abroad, it is always difficult to win by judges’ decision. I will try to finish him as soon as possible, even though I have noticed that he has a good cardio, so I am preparing to be at the highest level even in this regard. In particular, he’s a very skilled grappler from a defensive standpoint, but he can also trade shots standing too. In a sense I see myself in him, we have very similar characteristics, it might really be a nice match. I will certainly feel sorry for his mistakes, such as the tendency to lower his hands when he is kicking or keeping a way too much open guard. Finally, I did not notice a great power in him; I will try to press him immediately and let him know I’m there to win.

MT: How do contracts with Finnish promotion work? Do you only have one scheduled match or have you signed up for more matches, perhaps exclusive, like with promotions such as ACB and Brave?

YO: At the moment I have a single match with CAGE MMA; I hope to win it and let my name be known in Finland. I’m aware that in their roster there are athletes who are under observation by UFC, in particular Mikael Silander, who is a Flyweight like me. By winning this match, I could face him next and put on the show again.

MT: More and more Italian athletes find themselves fighting abroad (Russia, Germany, North Europe, Poland, the Middle East, United States) instead of competing in their country. Why do you think it is happening (bigger paychecks? Greater visibility? Few events in Italy?)

YO: Most likely it’s a paycheck issue because, unfortunately, there is little space (for anything else) in Italy besides football. All the other sports in Italy are not well considered, including MMA, thus preventing the athletes from getting more substantial paychecks. Moreover, the level abroad is still higher than within our borders, so athletes emerging from our gyms try to confront themselves with international opponents. In general, however, the Italian level is rising and many of us, when they go outside, hold their worth. Last but not least, greater visibility is given to events, perhaps through local TV. It’s also a way to get noticed (outside Italy).

MT: What do you think of your position in the Italian Ranking for the bantamweight division?

YO: Back then I was in second place, behind Luca Iovine. Now I know someone has overtaken me but, even though I care about them, I know that rankings are a subject matter somewhat subjective and may vary depending on who prepare them. In the past I fought against Luca and it was a great opportunity, but his actual weight made the difference and during that night I could not fight as I know I can. Despite all, however, the match lasted 3 rounds and it was a real war. Maybe, in that evening I’ve wasted an important opportunity. Had I won that night, I would probably be in the top spot now.

MT: Out of curiosity, tell us something about your nickname, “The Worker”.

YO: My nickname, “The Worker”, is a way to represent all the boys who like me are employed in factories and after 8-9 hours of work they get really tired. Despite all, though, they still prepare their bag and head up to the gym giving it all just for passion. In particular, in recent times, in my city (Livorno) there aren’t many jobs, which affected me too. Thankfully, I now work as a carpenter with my uncle, which gives me some flexibility to allow me to train. It is a great pride for me to carry this nickname; like many others, I’m a warrior in life, then I’m also one in the octagon.

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