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MMA Prospect Profile: Undefeated BAMMA Flyweight, Pietro Menga

Iain MacMillan

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Name: Pietro “Pitbull” Menga
Weightclass: Flyweight (125 lbs)
Current Promotion: BAMMA
Affiliation: MMA Academy Liverpool
Record: 12-0
Most Recent Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Steve McCombe at BAMMA Fight Night, August 2nd 2014
Next Fight: Not Yet Officially Announced

In this weeks edition of MMA Prospect Profile we take a look at one of the top English prospects in MMA today. Pietro “Pitbull” Menga is an undefeated (12-0) flyweight fighter and the former champion of Full Contact Contender and Ultimate Cage Championships. His jiu-jitsu skills are unprecedented as he boasts 8 submission finishes on his record and 2 KO/TKO’s to go along with them. His 83% finish rate is astounding for a flyweight which further backs his case for being one of the top fighters at 125 lbs yet to be signed by the UFC.
Despite a lengthy layoff due to injuries, Menga is set to make his return to the cage in the very near future and he’s more than prepared to show off an ever improved skill set against his next opponent. He is a true student of the art, taking every chance possible to soak up knowledge from any source that’s willing to share some with him. With the speed, technique, grappling ability, and sharp mind that Menga possesses, the sky truly is the limit for this England born Mixed Martial Artist.
I recently had the opportunity to ask Menga a few questions about what he’s been up to since his last fight, his plans for his future, and where he thinks he stands among the top flyweights in the world. This is what he had to say:

MMA Latest News: You’re 12-0 with 10 finishes, is finishing a fight inside the distance something you take pride in and aim to do in each contest? Which win has been the most memorable for you?

Pietro Menga: Yes I take great pride in possesing the ability to finish a fight inside the distance, more so with finishes coming against such high level competition. I take what ever I can from my opponent, as soon as they show me a chink in their armour or make a mistake, I capitalize. I’m an opportunist.
I wouldn’t say I have one memory in particular. I remember them all and value them for different reasons, mostly being able to improve from each fight and better myself which is really a credit to all of my opponents.

MMALN: You haven’t fought since August in 2014, do you feel the long lay-off will effect you in any way upon your return? How motivated are you to get back in there?

PM: It will not effect me at all, the break has been a blessing and has given me chance to work on other areas, becoming a more complete martial artist and athlete. I think it’s hard to make improvements while training for a specific fight or in ‘camp’ all the time. Ive had over a year to travel, learn new things and most importantly enjoy the training without even thinking about a fight.
Ive have had a lay off with injuries but also spent alot of time refining my skills with my coaches in the gym along with training camps abroad at a world class boxing gym MGM & with Frankie Edgar team in NJ which added a lot to my game, so you better believe I will be coming back a better, smarter and more mature version than before.

MMALN: Is there someone that you looked up to early in your career and possibly modeled your style after?

PM: There are lots of fighters I look up to and definately take inspiration from for many reasons. I’m big on theory and studying not just MMA but individual disciplines as well. I like problem solving when it comes to my own sparring or fights, I’m always trying to evolve. I studied a lot of Giorgio Petrosyan and Marcelo Garcia massively since I was an amateur as well as many other martial artists, boxers, wrestlers etc. MMA has such a wide spectrum and many facors so I like to keep an open mind.

MMALN: Where do you see yourself ranked among the fighters in your weight class across the world?

PM: I believe I’m top 10 calibre. I’ve never lost a round, never mind a fight. Of course I have to earn a title such as that and I will get my chance to compete against the best.

MMALN: What are your short term and long term goals in the sport?

PM: Keep chasing perfection, short term and long term the goal is the same. I want to be a world champion and fight all over the world, that would be special for me.

MMALN: Is there someone from any promotion that you’d love to be matched up with? Who do you think would be a fun fight for you, stylistically?

PM: Of course I’m going to say any of those UFC flyweights are fights I would love, Sergio Pettis, Chris Cariaso? Somebody like that would be a fun fight. I dont lose sleep over any of those guys and you can be sure that a few of them are keeping my spot warm. There are plenty of good match ups for me in the BAMMA Flyweight division through out this year.

I’d like to thank Pietro Menga for taking the time to answer my questions, and I wish him the best in his upcoming return to the cage. Please follow him on twitter at @PitbullMenga

Photo Credit: James Crowder Photography

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Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting BACK! in 2018; Wants Anthony ‘Pretty Boy’ Taylor in the Bellator MMA Cage!

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After losing his Bellator debut to talented Irish prospect, James Gallagher at Bellator 158 – Daley vs. Lima. There was some potential for self-loathing. A near 17 months on, and after making a re-overture to Bellator MMA President: Mr. Coker, it would seem as if Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting now has that drive to fight again.

Speaking with MMA Latest, Michael details the drive behind his intent for that return.

“My missus has stood by me through it all and has pushed me to fight for what I want. At times I was going to leave it all behind, she taught me that it’s better to try and fail then to not try at all. If I don’t try I’ll have already failed. Win or lose she has my back and she’s with me for me, she cooks all my meals – pushing me to train. So I thank her for all her support and hope she knows how much I appreciate and love her. The last year has taught me so much, good and bad. I’ve realized that if I want it that bad, I’ve got to fight for it and I need to do it now. Let’s face it, fighting is what I know. So Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting is coming back stronger and better than ever. I was fighting at 50% of my skill-set and just having too much fun; now don’t get me wrong – I’ll still have fun but Nothing and Nobody will get in my way this time. I’ve let too much stop me from getting my dreams and my goals in the past and it has cost me so much; well no more, that’s for sure! 2018 is my year and I’m coming back for the wins ‘kill or be killed’ this time! I’m doing this for me, my girlfriend and my three children in hoping one day I can give them the life I dream of. Everyone deserves a second chance – so where’s mine; I’m waiting!”

With Michael’s micro intent detailed, what is Michael’s long-term (macro) aspirations?

“My aim is to get to the UFC one day! The determination is real and I don’t care who I have to fight or how many fights it takes; I will get there! I will be making weight at every fight after working hard and continuing to do so; my game plan is different; my thought process has changed! I’m a different person. I move, think and train differently to others! My first goal after I’ve made weight and won my fight in May 2018 [return fight at Featherweight; previously Featherweight & Bantamweight], I’m looking to get on the Bellator MMA roster at 145; under (exclusive) contract with that promotion!”

Human resources can run thin sometimes; that’s true with the mental capacity’s ability to endure; process; then manage all personal distractions and demons that come into our life from outside or inside sources. The focus on one’s career as well as persisting personal unhappiness – it raises ”what is the point!’. It would seem as if Michael’s love & passion for MMA; the reason he got into Martial Arts & MMA will be the beacon for personal achievement; a beacon for fulfillment; a beacon for happiness, along with his family’s love & support to carry that motivation going forth.

“Fighting is what I do, it’s in my blood and since the first day I witnessed guys like Royce Gracie, Anderson Silva, and B.J Penn perform MMA and the technique behind it all”, Michael tells MMA Latest.

“I knew it was something I had to do. And now honestly, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else! jujitsu and MMA saved me from being like the other kids from my town: doing nothing and going nowhere in life. I didn’t want that for me. I became a black belt in 2 years of training at jujitsu under my instructor a good friend, Michael Magary. I’m now a 2-time jujitsu world champion!”

So with Michael placing his marker tentatively, but meaningfully down on the 2018 MMA calendar – what mat, and what frames would Michael desire to show his art, and newfound regime at/against? We’ve already viewed the re-overture to Scott Coker via a tweet, and Michael’s May 2018 debut stated above. Let’s potentially dial in further to the canvas Michael would like to showcase his art for.

“I’m determined now more than ever to get back into the cage and choke the first neck I can. I’m back, trust me! Anthony ‘pretty boy’ Taylor called me out a year ago, calling me a ‘bum’ making it personal – so now I want his neck or any limbs. let’s make this fight happen Bellator MMA. He will be my first fight back in that Bellator cage and he will be my first win at putting everything right and making a big comeback.”

Wishful thinking or intents of a man who knows he will get what he wants? They say “if you work hard enough and believe enough, you’ll achieve anything”. We’ve witnessed foundation to such statements coming to fruition in MMA before. Conor McGregor is what some would call ‘special’, or maybe he’s a man who desired & Aspired. That said, Scott Coker will be the determining factor towards giving the green light towards Cutting stepping into the Bellator MMA cage; unless Bellator MMA work alongside a third party promotion, such as ATAK Promotions like a previous London Bellator MMA Event. Is a tweet enough, or will Cutting have to earn his spot on the full-time Bellator MMA roster? It would seem as if Cutting has the desire to earn his spot if must, but you need a platform to progress up those levels.

Cutting has had few trying to blacklist him from U.K MMA cards. The MMA world in the U.K is a small one. It’s hard to break into that international MMA scene, and even more tougher to break out onto the North American MMA scene from the U.K. Conor McGregor said it best when he coached Season 22 of the Ultimate Fighter to his European Team (paraphrasing) “you guys have had the harder road than those in the other locker room”.

Michael’s experience and abilities alone should be enough to secure a spot on many various MMA European events. Can Micheal push through the stone wall that certain individuals have placed in front of him? Will Michael get that opportunity? He has the credentials – having already showcased his abilities on the BAMMA and Bellator MMA canvases.

Some would be happy enough with that achievement alone. Micheal isn’t done achieving and won’t be kept down, no matter what. That should be music to any regional/second tier promoters ears. You want a reliable guy who you know has an unnerved desire to make it to the top. Michael ticks the skill/desire/reliable boxes to make a Champion for any region second-tier promotion. Will Micheal be granted his wishes; will he be given a chance by Bellator MMA President: Scott Coker? Will Michael attain his goals for 2018? We can’t answer those questions, but i ask you to keep an eye out and show support to a family man trying to provide a better life for his family, with the only thing he knows how to, and that is through his passion.

After a torrid 2016; an inactive 2017 – What will Mike Cutting title 2018?

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Rany Saadeh pleased with the opportunities ACB brings, promises a finish in his debut on Saturday

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The BAMMA Flyweight belt was ruled for years by none other than Rany Saadeh, During his reign as champion he successfully defended the belt on two occasions. His dominance over the division saw him go undefeated in BAMMA and without a loss since 2012. Following the expiration of his contract, Rany vacated his BAMMA belt to explore new challenges.

He has now signed with ACB and is set to make his debut in only a matter of days at ACB 74 in Austria where he will take on Darren Mima. In a recent catch up with Rany, he explained his reasoning behind joining ACB and his goals in the promotion.

“ACB is the fastest growing organization in MMA. They’ve promised me an active career with events all over the world and a tempting bonus structure. It was just what I was looking for. I’ve looked into the competition and I can honestly say that the competition at flyweight is just as good, if not even better than in the UFC. Being the ACB title holder would make me a legit world champion.”

Ahead of his bout with Mima, we are set to see some new stuff from Saadeh as he claims to have changed up his style after a solid camp for this fight, guaranteeing us a surprise.

“I didn’t need to change anything for him but my style changed in general since my last fight. I’ve had an excellent camp with high-level training partners and coaches. I’m very grateful for my coaches who have put hours of private work into me this year. Especially with my new boxing coach Luciano Robledo, I can guarantee a surprise.”

The confidence is evident as he tells me how he sees the fight going. Promising his well-rounded arsenal of both strikes and grappling are worthy of bonuses, something he’d be very keen on considering the set-up in ACB.

“I will not just completely dominate but also finish.” He began, “I can imagine this fight being a wild brawl and dropping my opponent. Also on the ground, I have some slick submissions that are bonus-worthy.”

Having been successful in BAMMA, Rany is striving for more glory as plans on taking home the ACB title becoming the first Western European to do so.

“Of course!” he says with determination in his voice, “I’m coming into ACB as a world champion and the #1 ranked flyweight in Western Europe. After winning this fight, the title fight is right there”

It’s now been over a year since we’ve seen, “Prince” enter the cage. A decision voluntarily made by the German as he adjusted his game.

“It was mid last year when I had started to adjust my game. These changes take time and as the wished competition wasn’t there, I decided to take some time off fighting to prepare for a bigger challenge.”

Now having departed ways with BAMMA, the British promotion now has a new champion in Daniel Barez. Unfortunately for Rany, his reasons for leaving was the lack of competition has beaten everyone put in front of him with money being an issue that stepped in the way too. Despite any negativity derived from his departure, he does not rule out a return to the promotion where he was once Flyweight king.

“The competition in Europe just got very thin. With five fights in BAMMA, I somehow wasn’t very impressed with the opportunities left. Neither I got the fights, nor the purse that I needed to take my career further. After two title defenses, it felt like I was standing still which isn’t just BAMMA’s fault. Altogether, they are a great promotion and I wouldn’t exclude a return.”

When the UFC announced they would have the best flyweights from around the world enter the TUF house with a shot at the belt going to the winner. Many would have thought Rany Saadeh would have been up there. The season had champions from all over the world but no one from BAMMA, something strange considering the number of champions they signed in the past year from the promotion.

In an unfortunate circumstance for Saadeh, it was not his fault he wasn’t in the house as the UFC did come knocking but BAMMA just weren’t letting their champ go. Despite this situation, there is no bad blood anymore as Saadeh has moved on with things now.

“The UFC was definitely interested in putting me on the show and it is not true that BAMMA wasn’t asked. They were asked but didn’t want to be part of it. Without their permission, I wasn’t able to take part in the TUF. But I’m not mad at that anymore, I feel like it will make better opportunities possible.”

Having missed out on a possible UFC opportunity before, it isn’t on his mind anymore as he remains pleased with his life and is mainly looking to support his family in the future.

“I really don’t care, I’m set for the next few fights. All I want now is a decent living from fighting and provide for my family in the near future. ACB is not just giving me the chance to reach that goal but also giving me the challenges that I need. So far, I’m a very happy person”

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Today’s MMA news round-up

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Today has been a pretty busy day when it comes to MMA news. We’ve had it all today from new champions to commissioners being slapped to fighters being flagged by USADA. It’s been hectic to say the least so here are the highlights of today’s news.

1. Conor McGregor causes havoc at Bellator 187

Yes, that’s correct, Conor McGregor at Bellator. Following the win of his teammate and friend Charlie Ward at Bellator 187 the UFC Lightweight Champion entered the cage to celebrate with Ward, however, their celebrations did not go to plan. Referee Marc Goddard wasn’t pleased with this in the slightest and tried get McGregor out. This didn’t go down too well as McGregor confronted the referee who initially pushed him. See the video here:

This unfortunately was not the only incident as Conor appeared to slap an official who tried to get him off the top of the cage.
Credit to @BryanLaceyMMA for this one

2. Bellator to hold 8 Man Grand Prix for Vacant Heavyweight Championship

Earlier today it was confirmed by MMA Fighting that Bellator would crown a new Heavyweight champions following a report from MMA Junkie. There is no official dates yet, however, they do hope to start on January 20th and crown a new champion by the end of the year. There are some big names bidding to become the new champion, they are:

Fedor Emleianenko
Frank Mir
Matt Mitrione
Roy Nelson
Ryan Bader
Rampage Jackson
King Mo Lawal
Chael Sonnen

3. Anderson Silva flagged by USADA for potential doping violation, out of UFC Shanghai Main Event

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva failed a USADA doping test and was pulled from the UFC Shanghai Main Event. The sample was collected from an out of competition test on October 26th. This is now his second time failing a doping test. Last time he was hit with a one year suspension and a heavy fine. No more information on the matter has been made available yet in relation to suspension.

4. UFC newcomer Grant Dawson also flagged by USADA for potential doping violation

USADA had a field day today in terms of fighters testing positive for doping. Grant Dawson, who has yet to even get a date for his debut was flagged for a sample collected on October 18th. The 23 year old was signed after impressing on Dana White’s contender series where he scored a second round submission on Adrian Diaz.

5. Martin Nguyen becomes ONE Championship’s first ever two division champion

Featherweight Champion Martin Nguyen stepped up to Lightweight to clash with title holder Eduard Folayang in effort of making history. Many ruled Nguyen out but he silenced all critics when viciously knocked out Folayang to take home another title. See the knockout here:
Credit to @Jolassanda for the video.

 6. All but one fighter make-weight for UFC Norfolk

Things were running smoothly today at the UFC Norfolk weigh ins until Matthew Lopez stepped up to the scales for his bout with Rafael Assuncao. He weighed in 2.5lbs over for his bout. The fight will go ahead, however, Lopez will lose 20% of his purse. Both Pettis and Poirier successfully made weight for their Main Event fight tomorrow night.

7. One new BAMMA champion while Lahore defends his belt in style

Despite some streaming troubles for the first two fights, BAMMA finally got one up in time for fans to see the final 3 fights. In the World Flyweight Title fight, Andy “Taz” Young fell lost his belt to Spaniard Daniel Barez via Majority Decision, After being docked a point in the opening round Barez came back strong to take home the World Title.

In the Main Event of the evening then, the anticipated match up between Alex Lahore and Richard Kiely went down. There was a lot of hype surrounding this one in the build up to the fight but it went as planned for Lahore. The champion pressured for a takedown in the first until finally succeeding, following some work on the mat it looked as if Kiely was about to gain some advantage on top. Only for Lahore to lock in a Kneebar and finish off the fight retaining his belt.

8. Cage Warriors 89 gets a shake up

The Cage Warriors Belgium card had an incredible addition today as they announced via newsletter that Karl Amoussou will defend his belt against Dominique Steele in the Main Event. The fight for the Vacant Heavyweight Championship was then demoted to co-main with a change in opponents for Mauro Cerilli. Dutchman Nills van Noord stepped up to face the Italian after Light Heavyweight Champion Karl Moore was forced off the card due to injury. This dampened his hopes of becoming the first Cage Warriors two division champion since Conor McGregor.

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