By Dean Parr
With an army of fans behind him, Pietro Menga (7-0) notched up his best victory to date at UCC 12 last week, submitting Rany Saadeh (3-1) with an arm bar 4:36 into the third round.
The MMA Academy-product was pleased after a performance which saw him one step ahead for the majority of the contest.
"I was happy," beamed the UCC's new European flyweight champion. "It's always nice to get a reward after all the hard work.
"I worked hard for the win and it's another step towards where I want to be. It was great to fight in front of my home crowd too."
The clinical end to the bout also delighted the 125-pounder, who asserts he's always on the lookout for a contest-concluding manoeuvre. He said,
"The finish felt great, but to be honest, from the first bell I'm always trying to finish my opponent every time I fight.
"I don't play for points or stall; it's just not my style. It's cool because I always expect to go the distance, but I seem to keep finding a way to finish.
"I was starting to land a lot of big shots on the feet and was trying to work towards a finish there.
"I like to think I have the skills and confidence in my ability to be able to finish a fight in any area it goes."
Undoubtedly presenting Menga with his hardest scrap yet, Germany's Saadeh hadn't made the journey to lose. Pietro expected nothing less from his latest foe.
"Rany was a very good opponent; one of the best unbeaten flyweights coming out of Germany, so it was nice to see myself put in such a dominant performance," remarked the victor.
"He didn't surprise me at all. I knew he had skills, but I always kept an open mind in the fight.
"I noticed that in a lot of his fights he pressures his opponent right from the bell with strikes and they always seem to fold.
"That wasn't going to happen with me. I've been training in Muay Thai for too long. I think this was a little bit of a shock to him; not something he's used to."
Pietro feels that he dealt with the occasion well, and was unfazed by the level of his opponent.
"There's always pressure, but I don't really think about it," admitted the Salford-based battler. "I'm just in there to enjoy what I'm doing.
"I'm always very relaxed in the build-up to the fight regardless of the significance. I prefer to keep calm and a clear mind."
After this win, Menga is looking to continue his progression up the ranks, but is willing to take his time all the same. He questioned,
"Who knows where this puts me? This isn't something I really think about that much.
"I would love an opportunity to fight the best guys in the world and the UFC have those elite guys, but if I need a few more fights to see if I'm good enough, then that's what I'll do. I'm in no rush.
"I'm enjoying the journey. Like I said before the fight, I wouldn't be in this sport if I didn't think I could be the UFC champion one day.
"There's a lot of hard work to come for me yet to get close to my dream."
To conclude, the flyweight had some final words to add.
"I'd like to thank Jason Tan, Peter, Lucio and everyone at the MMA Academy. Also, thanks to my sponsors David Mather Supplies, 1010 Taxis, Universal Security Guards and IPC Wrexham."
Pietro can be followed on Twitter @PitbullMenga.
A video of the fight can be watched on the YouTube link embedded below, courtesy of Sharefight.
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