Italian MMA Fighters

Best Italian MMA Fighters

Very few Italian fighters have made their debut in UFC, the top international MMA competition, but many others are active in others such as Bellator. Most of the Italian fighters who are now MMA pro athletes have approached this sport in recent times, as Mixed Martial Arts were considered an underground discipline bordering on the underground until the early 2000s.

Thanks to the media coverage of recent years – visit top1’ for the best MMA odds – MMA is becoming increasingly popular among young Italians, who are beginning to achieve good results also in the international arena. It is increasingly common to find gyms where MMA fighters who aspire to become professionals are trained and has been recognized as an official sport, regulated by the Italian Grappling Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

Most of the Italian athletes who have achieved excellent results in international MMA have decided to train in the USA, taking advantage of the popularity of this sport and growing professionally together with coaches of the highest level and experience.

Many times we have wondered which are the best Italian MMA Fighters ever? Here is a list of the most important and successful in the international arena.


Alessio Sakara


Alessio Sakara (40) is nowadays the most popular Italian MMA fighter in the world, being called by his fellow Italian supporters “The Italian King of MMA”. He made his debut in 2002 and in 2005 Sakara became the first Italian fighter to be enrolled in the UFC. Alessio “Alex” Sakara has had some ups and downs during his career as UFC fighter, but he is still considered one of the best italian MMA fighters ever. Sakara “The Legionarius” is no longer competing in Bellator MMA since July – now he is mostly working as a TV presenter and actor in Italy.  


Marvin Vettori


Marvin Vettori (28) is the youngest Italian ever in the UFC and the only Italian to have debuted in the UFC with a victory, even in the first round. He is considered by many the best Italian MMA fighter in the business. 

Vettori has been a professional since 2011 and “The Italian Dream” and he is currently number three in the UFC middleweight ranking, even if he has reached the 2nd position in the past . Vettori has fought for Kings MMA since 2015 and Stabile Fight Team since 2014. Brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Vettori’s professional record breakdown is 18W (of which 9 by submission and 2 by knock out) and 5L.  


Michele Verginelli


Michele Verginelli was without any shadow of doubt one of the MMA pioneers in Italy, making his debut in 1998 when Mixed Martial Arts in Italy was still an underground sport, almost bordering on the illegal. Verginelli soon became a sort of underground hero for those who love mixed fights, when the name MMA was not yet formalized. 

Verginelli never had a great chance in the UFC but indeed he fought everywhere in the world being called “Iron Mike” because of his strength and power. He has only been subdued twice and has never been defeated by TKO or KO. Verginelli is still a true legend among the italian fighters, however, did not reap as much as he could and should have. Right now Michele Verginelli is Alessio Di Chirico’s coach. 


Alessio Di Chirico


Alessio “Manzo” Di Chirico is the third Italian in history signed by the UFC in the Light Heavyweight and Middleweight category. Di Chirico pro athlete’s career started in 2008 as linebacker for the American football team of Grizzlies Rome. MMA training was a great way to lose weight and in 2011 Di Chirico decided to become a pro MMA fighter. 

“Manzo” Di Chirico’s professional record breakdown is 13 W (6 by KO) and 6L. Alessio Di Chirico is the founder of his current MMA Team, the GLORIA Fight Center, which is based in Rome, his hometown.


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