Orlando D’Ambrosio is ready to make a name for himself in Bellator MMA. On Saturday, “Amstaff” will take on unbeaten irish prospect Kiefer Crosbie at RDS Stadium in Genoa, Italy.
European fans may know D’Ambrosio for his two outings under the Cage Warriors banner, both of which he lost. In his last fight, D’Ambrosio was submitted by Brad Wheeler in the second round at Cage Warriors 95.
“My fights in Cage Warriors didn’t go as planned” D’Ambrosio said to Sherdog.com. “You fight and you gain experience. I liked how I was performing during my last fight, even though I lost. I was setting the pace of the match, then my opponent closed that triangle choke. It was something I understood, though. In the UK, the fighters’ level is very high. They started their journey in MMA before us Italians, so they have fighters more experienced than us. They are more advanced, but I like to think that we are closing the gap.”
His next opponent, “Big Daddy,” is known for his striking ability. The SBG Ireland representative is on a four-bout winning streak and has stopped all four of his professional opponents to date. Crosbie has never faced an opponent as experienced as D’Ambrosio, though.
“My coach and I studied Crosbie’s tendencies very carefully,” D’Ambrosio said. “We made adjustments in my training schedule in order to arrive in my best shape ever. When you enter in the cage, you have to be prepared for what your opponent is going to do. I like to do specific workouts according to my opponent’s skills. I feel that when the fight is on, I am more confident, since I’ve already seen what he is going to do. I like the challenges. I know that he trains with the best athletes in the world at SBGi and I want to prove that not only I can compete at that level, but I can also win.”
D’Ambrosio is looking to turn around a recent stretch in which he has gone 1-2. Prior to that, he opened his career 6-1, with the only loss coming to current UFC welterweight Carlo Pedersoli Jr.
“I left university in order to pursue my MMA career” he said. “I was studying International Studies at University of Salerno. It’s hard to do both here in Italy, given the fact that the government doesn’t help you. It’s an either-or choice: either you study or you train.” Showing a typically Italian sardonic attitude towards his beloved country, he added, “I’m very happy that Bellator is going to donate their gate to the city of Genoa because of the Morandi Bridge Collapse. On the other hand, maybe Bellator would do better to keep that money to itself. Jokes aside, I just want to be sure that the money really goes to the victims’ parents. I don’t trust the Italian establishment -- it’s Italy, you never know.”
D’Ambrosio will have home advantage with the event taking place in Genoa, for the first time in his career.
“I’m here to represent Campania and my team, Team Taurus MMA,” D’Ambrosio said. “I had the best camp of my life and I’ve trained with the best fighters in Naples and surroundings. After my last fight at Cage Warriors 95, I just stayed in shape. I wanted to fight another match before Christmas, it didn’t matter where. I was really surprised when I got the call, surprised and happy. I said yes immediately and now I am ready to prove that I belong at Bellator’s level. I’ve always fought with the crowd against me, since I’ve never fought at home. This time, I’m fighting in my homeland and against a foreigner. I hope to hear the people cheering for me.”