by Carl Fisher 25 June 2003
Ilmen casts an imposing figure when he enters the training room; standing six
feet one inches tall and weighing in at a shade over 100K, this man means business
and pray to God you dont find yourself opposite him in the ring Ilmen
will fight any time any place anywhere and he takes no prisoners. When you step
into the cage to fight with Ilmen, make sure youre on top of your game or
youll be in a world of serious pain
: Lets begin with your success in the ADCC Qualifiers in Turku earlier this
year and the matches you had.
Ilmen : The first guy was a Turku fighter and I have beaten him five
times before, so I wanted to end the fight early to save energy, so I tried a
leg lock and succeeded; the second guy was a tall Swedish guy and before the points
started I tried a few takedowns and then when the points came I scored on him
and won the match. The next fight was the finals against Midoux and a few times
I was in trouble with his triangles, but as the fight progressed my confidence
grew and I decided to take the fight home and won the match on points 10-0; I
was a little unsure of my conditioning going into a twenty minute match but in
the end I did OK.
of the three fights, which was the hardest for you?
Ilmen : By far the final match, I was pushed to the edge
strong was Midoux?
Ilmen : He was stronger than me, which is quite unusual for me to be
in this position, but he didnt seem to be in is best shaped and tired quickly,
so it was easy for me to keep him underneath me, which helped me a lot.
did you feel winning the event?
Ilmen : I felt brilliant it was a great experience and a chance to
show my skills to the rest of the world in Brazil.
faced Jeff Monson in the first round; how did you feel facing such a big name
in the first round?
Ilmen : Going into the fight I was carrying a bad groin injury and
it was hard to fight, so it spoke to Ricardo Arona for some fight tips and I fought
Monson to overtime and my status was to wait for Monsons mistake and try
to capitalise on that, but he never made any and going to OT the groin started
to hurt real bad and I could not do anything and Monson won on points. If I had
been a lot fitter I am sure there would have been a different outcome but thats
was it like to fight Monson?
Ilmen : He wasnt as fast as I expected but was very strong and
he was a very nice guy after the fight and we had a great time together.
else did you meet?
Ilmen : Many people, Helio Gracie, Arona, Mark Kerr, Sperry, everyone.
long did you stay after the event?
Ilmen : I stayed in Sao Paulo until the end of the event and then went
to Rio for eleven days.
Did you do any training in Rio?
Ilmen : No just sightseeing and relaxing, as I was too injured to train
is the injury now?
Ilmen : Its not 100 per cent but is slowly getting better
do you fight next?
Ilmen : Nothing is agreed upon at the moment, but you never know when
the phone may ring (laughs).
is your fight record for BJJ, SW and NHB?
Ilmen : In BJJ I am two times Finnish Champion, SW I am two times Finnish
Champion and Finnish Open SW championship from last year; NHB I am 15 and 6 with
were the guys that beat you and at what stage in your career?
Ilmen : Richard Bohlenius, Juha Tuhkasaari, Hassan Torabi, Melvin Meinhoef
and Murat and a guy from Russia who I cant recall; the first two were early
in my career and the others were pretty recent.
happened in Russia?
Ilmen : We traded punches and kicks and I pushed him into the fence
and I got a hit in the groin and I had 90 seconds to recover but I couldnt
continue so the Russian won, he did not get disqualified.
Would you like a rematch?
Ilmen : Of course (laughs)
do you train with when you prepare for a fight?
Ilmen : I train a lot with the top Finnish boxers in Helsinki and here
at the Alliance
do the guys manage with you when youre preparing for a fight?
Ilmen : This is the one of the most successful teams in Europe so the
training is pretty hard and is sufficient for NHB and many can handle me, I dont
beat them up too bad (laughs).
you prefer BJJ or NHB?
Ilmen : NHB for sure, its the Formula One of martial arts (laughs)
have also fought Shooto?
Ilmen : Yes one fight in the Cold War event this year, there isnt
much to say as the fight lasted five seconds against Jakob Lovstad; he wanted
to try and trade punches which suited me well and was his mistake, as I opened
a four centimetre cut on his cheek and KOd him. I saw him warming up and
hitting the pads and I knew I wouldnt have a problem with him, but I think
he was injured more when he fell to the floor and sprained his ankle.
did you get into NHB?
Ilmen : (Laughs) I was drunk and started to brag how I could beat these
guys and had to put my money where my mouth was and I faced Richard Bohlenius
and he beat me and here I am now.
you like to fight in the UK?
Ilmen : With pleasure, if the money and the deal is OK I will fight
often do you train?
Mika Ilmen : Maybe ten times a week, twice
a day for my conditioning and then two days rest, thats when I prefer for
fighter do you admire?
Ilmen : Igor Vovchanchyn
that you are so strong do you ever have a hard time when Lucio Linhares is in
Ilmen : No (Laughs)
then gives you the hardest time on the mats?
Ilmen : Jussi Tammelin
Ilmen : Oscar (the translator many laughs)
thanks for the interview, thanks for the time and for beating me up on the mats
Ilmen : My pleasure, any time
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interviews in this series by Carl Fisher