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Mauro Cerilli finds new "family" in Filipino MMA fans

Italian MMA fighter Mauro Cerilli already feels like home in the Philippines. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz
By Ivan Saldajeno

PARANAQUE--Former Cage Warriors heavyweight champion Mauro Cerilli is set for his first fight under One Championship on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

But as early as now, the Italian pugilist is already getting the love from the Filipino mixed martial arts aficionados.

"I already feel like [I'm] in a family. I love the Philippine people. I think that the Philippine MMA scene is growing up pretty fast," Cerilli said on Tuesday during the press conference of One: Conquest of Champions at the City of Dreams Grand Ballroom.

From the relatively cooler climate in Europe, Cerilli is making a debut in the premiere MMA promotion of the relatively warmer Asia.

But according to him, he is fine during the training camp.

"It's a very long trip, but with the weather here, we kind of being good so far. We acclimatize very well," Cerilli further said.

Cerilli is looking to add the One heavyweight belt to his championship portfolio, but waiting in the wing is no less than the defending champion himself, Brandon Vera.

"I knew Brandon was a star, but once we are in the cage, it's just me and him. Nothing else matters," Cerilli added.

He then said that once the fight goes to the ground, it will be advantageous to him despite Vera's experience.

"I do think that I have a better wrestling than him, and the only thing that I care is about winning," Cerilli vowed.

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