by Carl Fisher 3 July 2003
Heilimo is not of the most recognised names in the MMA world but in Scandinavia
he is one of the most popular NHB fighters and one of the most promising; training
and fighting for over five years and only just 22 years old, Sauli is a Finnfight
champion and has tangled with the legendary Sergei Bytchkov in Russia and is now
set to fight in Japan on the same bill as the Hansen-Gomi fight. Possessing natural
athleticism, combined with a devastating fight game, Sauli has all it takes to
make it to the top
Fisher : Nice to see you again Sauli; lets start with your fight record?
Heilimo : I have eight MMA fights in NHB and Shooto, with six wins
and one loss and one draw; I have fought Finnfight and Vasafight and the Finnish
Championships and also the M1 in Russia and Shooto in Holland and Russia.
did you fight in Russia?
Heilimo : Sergei Bytchkov, that was a hard fight, I tried to take him
down and fought an aggressive fight, but I lost my stamina in the end and we fought
in the stand up and he was better than me and it was a very good lesson for me.
did you fight in Holland?
Heilimo : Mario Stapel, hes from Germany and after the fight
I heard he was a black belt in jiu jitsu; in the fight I tried to punch and I
took him down and he put me in guard and he tried to triangle me and I reversed
and then he went for an omaplata and I escaped that and I took the side mount
and he put me back in the guard and I escaped again and got side mount again and
after that I took his back but he escaped, then he took half guard, I passed that
and choked him with a side choke, it was about four and a half minutes.
Finnfight did you enter?
Heilimo : It was Finnfight 5, there was only one fight so it was straight
to the finals (Laughs) I took the decision after ten minutes.
weight group do you fight in now?
Heilimo : Under 76K
did you first start training with?
Heilimo : Jari Ilka five years and have been here ever since training
at the Finnfighters
did you fight in Shooto?
Heilimo : It was a Finnish kick boxer and judoka and it was a fast
fight, I took him down got the mount and arm barred him; the second fight was
against Bobby Sundell at the Cold War and that was a hard fight, hes a tough
guy. I won by 3-0 decision, in the first round I tried to punch but he clinched
and I tried a takedown and he took guard and we swapped punches and I almost arm
barred him and he gave me a few hard shots to the head and that was the end of
the first round. In the second round I started to punch him and he clinched me
again so I took him down and I took side and he slipped me and I took the guard
and took his back and tried to choke him but he escaped and after that I was in
his guard and passed and got the mount and started to punch and then the bell
rang and the fight was over.
believe you are going to be fighting in Japan with Joachim?
Heilimo : I heard this week from Marko that the fight is on; I dont
know the opponent yet but I am happy and excited to be going there. I will be
training with Joachim for the fight, as we are nearly the same weight and we work
well together, plus all the other guys here.
are your strengths as a fighter?
Heilimo : I feel I am pretty good at stand up and good on the ground,
not world class but I can hold my own.
you fought BJJ and submission?
Heilimo : Yes but it was a long time ago for the BJJ; the last submission
event was the ADCC trials here and I made a bad mistake and I got heel hooked;
I prefer NHB now but like the submission wrestling side of training.
fighters do you admire?
Heilimo : I think the two toughest fighters are Chuck Lidell and Vanderlei
did you get involved with the Finnfighters Gym?
Heilimo : I used to train in karate and kung fu and I was training
in a Judo club and I met Marko and Jari there; they started a Shootfighting club
and then moved on to the Finnfighters Gym.
plans do you have for the future, as youre a young fighter?
Heilimo : I hope to have many good fights and keep on training hard.
words to the Japanese fans?
Heilimo : I hope you see me fight as I am going to kick some ass (laughs)
for the interview
is always looking for contributions to the content - it's the only way we can
keep you supplied with MMA news and info for free. If you are interested in reporting,
writing, reviews etc drop us an email
interviews in this series by Carl Fisher