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Gilbert Grappling Larry DiGiulio heading to Finland

Larry PinnacleGilbert Grappling's Larry DiGiulio has been quietly going about his business this year. Larry has amassed a 3-2 record in 2013. It may not seem like an overwhelming record, but when you consider the competition he has faced, it is quite impressive. In the two fights he lost, his opponents records were a combined 22-5. Three out of his last five fights have been for championships, with Larry taking home two of them. Larry's reward for taking tough fights and doing well has earned him a trip to Finland to face Mikael Silander (8-2). I ventured to Gilbert Grappling to speak with Larry about his upcoming fight and More!

What is your background?
I have been wrestling since I was 11 years old, started off with that. I have always been interested in MMA since in came out in 91, I always was a fan of Royce Gracie. I liked the idea of the small guy beating a big guy, considering I have been a small guy my whole life. SO I have followed UFC since it started, my sophomore year of high school I went to a wrestling camp with Joey Gilbert. He had already fought in UFC at this time so I knew who he was and he held MMA afterwards. I stayed after and tried Jiu-Jitsu, tried boxing; I competed in Golden Gloves and Naga when I was 16. I absolutely fell in love with the sport and kept doing it and have been doing it ever since.

Tell us about the first title you won this year, over Christopher Lane, at Extreme Challenge?
I was very happy with that fight, I got the title shot, got the opportunity. I prepared as much as I could. When I first started fighting my biggest problem was conditioning. I would come out wild and just freak out; I'd be gassed 30 seconds later when I thought I was in shape. That is something I have been concentrating on more and more recently. I conditioned like crazy for this fight knowing it was a five round fight. It was my first five round fight ever. I had the opportunity to fight Chris Lane. I didn't know much about him, I knew he was a tough opponent. I knew he was fame to fight anybody; he was going to be a real tough game opponent. I didn't know his background too much, I knew he was more of a wrestler but knew he liked to strike as well. I pretty much wanted to be prepared to go five rounds. Luckily I was able to out strike him all five rounds, he actually rocked me in the beginning of the fight. He caught me on the chin, it dazed me and I fell, but I recovered luckily right away. Got back up and took him down and got on top, landed some elbows and some shots. We ended standing back up and I pretty much controlled the fight from there. I knew I had him on the stand up; I was countering and landing shots at will. It went to the fifth round, I saw his face was all bloody and battered, I felt good and fresh. I actually felt real good with the fifth round coming up. He went for a desperation takedown, I slapped on the guillotine and it was over and that when I won my first championship.

Tell us about your latest title for Pinnacle Combat?
I got another chance for a title at Pinnacle Combat against DJ Sykora, I knew a little more about him. I fought on pinnacle 2 or 3 years ago and he fought on the same show. He fought against Joe Pearson, a WEC vet and he choked him out right away. So I knew this dude was going to be game, I knew he was going to be good or at least I knew he had a tight guillotine. I didn't know too much about him, wither him was a striker or a grappler. I just knew he had decent Jits and he fights and has beaten tough competition. So once again I concentrated a lot on conditioning, prepared to go the five rounds. This fight I was also able to land my hands on him. I concentrated a lot on body shots. I'm a big body puncher anyway, I love going to the body. I could tell my body shots were affecting him, so I did that pretty much for 5 rounds. I controlled the tempo, landed strikes and I ended up getting a unanimous decision victory. Once again I felt real good in the fifth round, conditioning was a big factor in winning those titles.

Larry two Pinncacle

What did you differently to improve your conditioning?
To improve conditioning, you pretty much have to condition. I condition two to three times doing different cross fit exercises. I do weight training, small weight training, I'm not trying to bench press 500 pounds, I'm more trying to do 100 pushups in a row. I do a lot of cardio vascular exercises, we do sprint training at least once or twice a week. I combine that with anaerobic threshold training two to three times a week as well as practicing at least four to five days a week. I try to push my body to the limit at least 3 to 4 days a week, with trying to get the proper rest. I also think nutrition has been the biggest thing, I eat very fresh and organic, and I get a lot of vegetables in. I concentrate a lot on nutrition, up until the fight I don't have my cheat until after the fight, not after the weigh-in, it's after the fight. Then I will treat myself to a decent burger, or some greasy food. Up until then I have a very clean diet and I think that also helps a lot with conditioning.

Can you tell me your thoughts on heading to Finland to face Mikael Silander?
I don't know too much about my opponent, I think he is more of a striker jiu-jitsu guy, I don't think he is a big wrestler even though he does shoot takedowns. I don't think his wrestling his strength; it's more of his jiu-jitsu and stand up. This will be my first cut to 125; I'm not too worried about it. I have been feeling good, the cut has been going good, but it is my first time at this weight class. I haven't weighed this since I was a sophomore in high school. It's something new to deal with but I got this fight from Chase Beebe, he got the fight and they wanted him to bring someone else. Chase mentioned my name at 125; I have been flirting with the idea of going to 125 for a while now. I really couldn't pass this opportunity up to go to Finland and fight, it's amazing, and I really couldn't imagine a cooler thing right now in my career. I jumped at the opportunity and said this is a great time to make my 125 pound debut and I'm looking forward to fighting this guy.

Along with the weight cut, you also will have to deal with a time change; do you plan on traveling to Finland earlier than normal to tend with the time change?
They set up the time so I think we are leaving Wednesday before, October 2nd. The fight is on October 5th, so I will be there three days before and I'm going to try and switch my clock at least a day early. I have a full time job too, I really don't have the convenience of getting as prepared as possible. Its trial by fire, if I can do it this way, I can do it back home. This is proof to myself I can do this, and if I do it the hardest way possible the first time, every time after that will just get easier and easier. I'm looking forward to this opportunity to test myself and really see what I'm made of.

What are your plans for the future?
If this 125 pound cut goes well and I perform very well and the next day I recover if I feel strong, I Might make that my new home. I Know UFC has a very open 125 pound division and obviously that's what I'm in there for. I'm not in this to be second best, I'm here to make it to the show and do the best I CAN in the show. I want to be in UFC not only that, I want to be a contender in the UFC. I'm doing everything I can to get to that point. Whether it's at 125 or 135 but if 125 is my calling, I'll definitely make that happen.

Do you feel moving to the 125 pound advantage will give you a size or strength advantage?
I don't think I am a weak at 135 but I'm a small for 135, comparatively. I don't think I have fought a guy my height in 6 or 7 fights. The last guy that I fought at my size was Joey Camacho and he was my height or even smaller but he was a brick house, he was huge. At 125, I know I will be big, at 135 I'm not weak but I'm not big. At 125, if I can recover well, I will be strong and big and that's an advantage.

Do you have a lot of family support?
Right now, they are absolutely supportive; when I first started it wasn't the same story. My mother hated it, my dad didn't like it. After my second fight, my dad actually tried to talk me out of fighting but I stuck with it and now both me and my younger brother do it. We have done so well, they know we are good enough to not get seriously injured. Although they know anything can happen, I think we finally made them understand the sport in it, rather than see the brutality. They see past the brutality into the sport of MMA, so they are very supportive. I have a huge support fan base, huge support from my friends and huge support from my family.

Who would you like to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
(ADD Adam Ward raises his hand in the background) lol
Gilbert Grappling and all my teammates, Adam Ward, Chase Beebe, especially my brother. I have been training with Gino for over 10 years now. Even going back I would like to thank Jay Buck, Tommy Lee, Clay Guida, Jason Guida and everyone at Gilbert Grappling. Especially Joe and Danny Gilbert, they taught me everything I know from Jiu-Jitsu to Boxing. Also John Gorecki, I've been with Gilbert Grappling from start to finish. I haven't been anywhere else, I wouldn't be the fighter I am today without them.

What is your prediction in Finland?

Finish the Finnish


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