DAVE MENNE TALKS ABOUT HIS VICTORY
AT WORLD EXTREME FIGHTING IX
With Joel Gold
From the June issue of Full Contact Fighter
Dave Menne talks with "The Mouth Of NHB" after his grueling victory over Pele Landi of Brazil, in World Extreme Fighting [WEF] IX…
Tell me a little about the game plan going into the fight.
Game plan for my fight with Pele was like…you had said to me that I was a slow starter and some other people have said that I was as well. So I wanted to try and push it a little bit more or try to hit him first. My game plan was to work the inside of his thigh because his stance is kind of wide and he leaves it open and he tries to drop those rights. I wanted to stay out of range. Everyone says how fast he is, but I watched a few of his tapes and I thought I could hit him, frustrate him and make him try to rush in on me. That’s what I was going to do. I was going to try and hit him on the inside of the thigh make him make a mistake, get him on the ground instead of me having to try to take him down. I wanted to frustrate him a little bit, so he wanted to break the distance.
Did your strategy work for you?
I don’t know, I have to see the tape. What I remember was…the first kick I threw was in the inside of the thigh, and then after that we went down to the ground off the clinch. I wanted to try a double, but I wasn’t going to double and then I got the inside trip on him when he clinched in on me. It went to the ground at some point-I had his leg, but I don’t remember at what point.
You rolled into the leg for what appeared a knee-bar at first, then went for the foot, but could not secure the lock.
I didn’t have a knee-bar at all. He was off to the side. What I did have was a figure-four on the leg. I could’ve readjusted to try to reset the knee-bar, but I didn’t want to give up position and create a scramble, so I was going to just try and isolate the ankle and try to break the ankle.
Why do you think you could not get him to tap? Was it not secure or was he just one of those guys with amazing pain tolerance?
It just wouldn’t break. I heard it tearing a little bit, not the usual where I pop people’s ankles and all of a sudden it goes pop, pop. I could hear it straining and ripping slightly, but I couldn’t get the pop. I don’t know if it was the glove-sometimes gloves will hinder you a little bit with your grip and your ability to get the right angle on him, but I just kept working that ankle, just kept pushing it. My corner was yelling at me not to use all my energy, so I was kind of conscious of that a little bit. I didn’t want to work for two minutes pulling and then have no pulling muscles left, but I just couldn’t get the break on it.
When the first round ended and you went to your corner, what was the feeling?
I had some confidence. I was a little winded, but I got my second wind in the second round, early into the second round.
There is a lot of hype about Pele being one of the best fighters in the weight class. What do you feel?
I think his biggest thing is he tries everything he can to cut a guy. He’s got a good body type and he is explosive, but I don’t see him as being some incredible unstoppable sensation. He hit me once hard in the third round. I don’t think I ever felt threatened. I got hit that one time, but beyond that I wasn’t ever scared.
Give me an overview of how things went for you.
I thought I was doing well at frustrating him, not allowing him to dictate the pace. He wanted me to come in on him and I would play off of that. In the second round, I acted more tired than I was. I was trying to bait him in making it look like I was getting gassed, so he would come in on me…I see that’s what he does a lot in his fights it seems. He’ll move back a lot. He’ll retreat, pull a guy in to him and work that head kick…I thought that was one of his biggest threats as far as the possibility of a knockout because he throws it really loose and he doesn’t telegraph it at all. I was trying to play the space, not allowing that to happen and I wished I would’ve worked the inside of the hands a little more prior to the fight. I would’ve liked to work the uppercuts and the elbows more which I thought he was open for. I got him with a couple of uppercuts–I think he is open for it. I could’ve capitalized on it more or I thought I could’ve.
You told me before the fight you were looking to use elbows, mainly during a clinch…
I was trying to work on the up elbow and a down elbow. I was trying to set his chin up; I couldn’t get under his clinch. I started uppercutting him because I couldn’t get the elbow through. I uppercutted him twice. I thought…sometimes on the clinch he’ll pull his hand low-I was working with Pat in the back room on pulling down on the guy’s arms, opening up for an elbow.
How did your plan work for you in the clinch?
I was weaving my arms in between his ’cause I knew he was trying to bring his knee up to cut me. So, I was trying to pull his arms down enough to try and drop an elbow and break the clinch, and also to cover his knees. So I kind of weaved my hand over his and set it there because all his knees were going to do is hit my forearms.
I was working the elbow and I was really conscious of blocking his knees. I was looking for any opportunity in that situation to strike, but the major…or first reason that I chose to do that is to stop him from getting a lucky knee. Like if I got lazy or if I am not paying attention or something, if my arm is there, then I can concentrate on working my knees to his body. I can figure out how to get a takedown. If I don’t have to worry about his knee and if my hands weaved in there, I’d be blocking that assault. It gives me the opportunity to work on offense.
At one point he landed a kick to your head, did that faze you?
The kick to the head didn’t faze me, I don’t think.
When the fight had ended and you were waiting to hear the decision, did you think you had won the fight?
I thought I had won the fight. I thought there might be overtime. My corner said if it goes to a decision, I won and they were pretty adamant about it. I had thought I had won the first round, for sure. I didn’t know about the second round, I thought it was close and the third round, I thought I had won. Of course I understand there are different views and different judges. That is the way I felt about it. There might be an overtime. My corner pretty much said the same thing to me. I go, "Did I win the fight?" They said, "Yeah you won, if it goes to the cards, you won." They said, "Be ready for an overtime." So I was confident that I was winning. I was confident that if it did go to an overtime that I was going win. I thought I had endurance and I don’t see that he was in a position where he could push the fight to me. I didn’t see that he was ever taking the fight to me. I don’t know if he didn’t have the strength or wasn’t prepared for it. As far as creating an offensive, I felt I had a superior offense. Basically the only thing he was trying to do…he threw a couple of combos or threw one or two, but when I pressed the fight I usually took it to him. That is how I saw it.
Was this your biggest victory to date in your fight career?
I would say it is definitely the biggest victory all on a scale. Every victory like this opens up doors. At the time, the Nakao (SuperBrawl 11) victory was a pretty big deal. He is a lot more popular and it is a larger scale fight, but the Nakao victory also opened up a lot of doors at that time…fighting in Japan, and people starting to look at you a little more seriously. Because of the UFC and some other fights, I was starting to get a little more press, but I know this opens up a lot more doors. It is kind of like a sliding scale; it just opens up more doors.
Have you heard anything from Japan about fighting Jutaro Nakao again?
I haven’t heard anything from Japan about fighting Nakao again.
This is the second fight that you have beaten fighters that have beaten UFC Champ, Pat Miletich. Do people call you his big brother?
No! Well, Pat has given me shit about it [laughing]. I have heard that people say stuff about it, but they don’t say it to me. Most of the people we know are all fighters and they understand.
What’s up next Champ?
June 15, the Rings fight in Japan–I don’t know my opponent. I spoke to Monte Cox and he is setting that up and then I have the July Rings USA in Hawaii in a tournament in a weight class up from mine-It is 200 and under. I weighed 176 for my fight with Pele. That is it for now.
Menne drew with Yasuhito Namekawa on June 15th. Menne received a yellow card in the bout.