By Dean Parr
The Liverpool Olympia will play host to the return of Pietro 'Pitbull' Menga (4-0) on March 3rd, when he takes on Irish fighter Bernard McGuigan (2-1) at his new found home of Flyweight.
Matching the MMA Academy Liverpool fighter proved to be a far from easy process, and Menga himself admits he didn't forsee it being such an issue. He said,
"I was suprised how long it took. I know it can be hard for promoters with so many shows around, but I try to stay away from thinking too much about who it might be or if I'm matched yet. I keep my head down and just train hard. Whoever it is, they are coming to fight."
Indeed, for Pietro, this lack of opponents was a major deciding factor in him dropping the extra few pounds to make the 57.8kg limit.
"It was probably the defining reason why I've dropped," admitted Menga. "I was a bit reluctant at first; I think I was developing very well at Bantamweight, but after getting no opponent and possible match ups with Scott Pooley and Spencer Hewitt fell through, my coach was like, 'look let's just go to fly now, you can make the weight.'
"I'm a fighter, not the coach, so I listen to the coach. I would have jumped at the chance to fight some of the top Bantamweights though."
While initially 'Pitbull' wasn't massively keen to go down in weight, he is now of the view this is the correct move. He admitted,
"I took a while to come around to the idea, but in the long run it's the best weight for me. Whenever my coach mentioned the possibility of Flyweight I would always say 'maybe next year, maybe next year.' He always said I was being lazy not dieting!
"Whether you're a Flyweight or a Bantamweight, you've got tough fights ahead of you, with both 'top tens' being stacked. I plan on fighting these guys."
However, first up for the prospect is Bernard McGuigan, who fights out of the EFR Gym.
"He's a very good, tough opponent coming out of Dublin, Ireland," analysed Pietro. "He brings a strong boxing pedigree to the table, along with very good attributes. I'm sure it's going to be a great fight."
Menga's preparations are in good order according to the fighter, and he is working with top calibre coaches and sparring partners in the run up to OMMAC.
"Training is going well," beamed Pietro. "I've had a longer camp to get the weight down early. The last time I made this weight was for a Muay Thai bout a few years ago.
"I'm at the MMA Academy in Liverpool nearly every morning and night, training hard under the tutelage of Jason Tan and Peter Davies. I also wrestle a lot, with Jesse Bradbury and UK number one and Commonwealth number four Craig Pilling.
"I train very hard; I live it if I'm honest, so I'd like to think on March 3rd this will show in my performance.
"I've been getting some invaluable sparring in with the pro boxers at Oliver Harrison's gym in Salford where I live. I've been going down for a good while now. They have some of the best coaches and boxers in the world at that gym; the likes of Oliver Harrison, Martin Murray, Derry Mathews are all world class and the list goes on."
While uncomfortable suggesting how he will win, Menga believes he will be fine no matter what area the bout is contested in.
"I don't like to make predictions," told 'Pitbull.' "I'm just going to play my game. If I can knock him out, I will. If I can submit him, I will. I feel like a whole different animal since I've been with Jason Tan and The MMA Academy."
Supposing all goes well on March 3rd, Menga is hoping to make some swift movements up the UK rankings.
"The word is there are some big fights planned for UCC and OMMAC against top ranked opponents," stated Pietro. "That's of no concern to me right now though.
"I've got a big challenge in McGuigan, and if you start looking past people, there's a good chance of getting yourself knocked out. I keep my feet on the floor, taking one fight at a time."
To wrap the interview up, the unbeaten Pro had some thanks to make.
"I owe a big thanks to Jason Tan. He's really got me on the right track the last couple of years. Also Peter Davies, Rick Barnhill and Lucio Segio. I'm only doing well because they have developed my game giving me the tools to do it.
"A big thanks to SBG Mainline; Karl Tanswell's gym. The cross training we do with them guys is quality. Many top training partners and coaches such as Casey Jones, Matt Inman; I could go on all day.
"I'm also on Twitter @pitbullmenga."
More information on OMMAC 13 can be found on OMMAC.tv.