Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Dave Lastafka Interview
Dave Lastafka's record speaks for itself. Five fights, five wins, five finishes. At NAAFS Night of Champions he faces his toughest opponent yet, Steve Burton. With a win and an amateur title, Dave would cement an incredibly impressive year. One thing is for sure, this should be a great fight between two tremendously talented fighters.
Q: Can you talk about how you got started in the sport?
A: Actually when I first got started, my dad would have me watch old UFC videos, I watched them with him. Then I was involved in sports but in May 2010 a buddy of mine egged me on to train with him. I trained two Saturdays in a row with him and he asked me in my now coaches organization. I took the fight on two weeks notice and ended up beating him in the 2nd round.I started training again in December and haven't looked back since.
Q: That first day you trained, did you ever think you may actually fight?
A: I've always took a big interest in it. I always said I wanted to. I didn't realize it would be two or three weeks after that first day of training.
Q: After your first NAAFS fight, matchmaker Nichole Long said you had potential and could make it to the tournament finals. Did you think that was a possiblity?
A: Yeah, she expressed a lot of interest in me after that first fight. She has been doing this awhile and she is real genuine. I believe I have the potential to make it to the highest of my abilities. I will do everything I can to win the finals and then go on from there.
Q: To borrow a college football phrase, you travel well. You have a lot of people come and support you. Is that support a big help to you?
A: Yeah, its a huge support. Whether its the littlest of kids, my moms friends kids, my friends, their brothers and sisters, to random people I meet at any NAAFS event. Like you said they travel. My second fight I filled half the place up with just my fans. They are a huge support and one of the reasons I do this. This is a sport for the fans so I gotta do what I can to make them happy.
Q: On the flip side, does it put any pressure on you?
A: Not really. I mean, I've been doing sports since I can remember, and there have been fans, whether a big stadium, small stadium. I get ready to walk out and I get tunnel vision, I don't see the fans till after their fight. Then I start shaking hands and taking pictures, its something I like to do.
Q: Do you think that it can be intimidating for an opponent?
A: Maybe sometimes. If he sees I have a big following or a big crowd he might go "wow". I guess it depends on the guy. I don't think the guy I am fighting will be affected by it, but you never know. For me personally, whoever is there is there, they are there to watch fights. A lot of people there, whether they like me or hate me, so I am prepared for anything and I hope my opponent is as well.
Q: Coming into this fight with Steve Burton you have had some impressive wins, has that helped your confidence?
A: Yeah, having five fights and finishing all five, really boosts my confidence. All the guys I fought have had winning records and that's a good thing. I don't wanna fight a guy that cant help me cause in my mind I can beat anybody. Always good to fight a guy with a winning record and finishing him is what I wanna do. People come to watch a fight not see guys lay on the ground and not doing anything. Not saying it cant happen, but I like to finish guys.
Q: Being undefeated and finishing all your opponents, do you think it maybe puts a target on your head, people wanting to give someone their first loss?
A: I guess you could say a target, but its also good because it means I will pull out the best in each competitor that I fight. I hope they want to give me my first loss because that means they bring what they can. When I beat them they cant say I lost because of this or that.
Q: How do you feel you match up with Steve Burton?
A: I would say almost like a striker vs a grappler match. I have watched his last two fights, I believe he has won a unanimous decision his last four fights. He likes to lay on the guy from what I saw. I feel like I have the explosiveness. If it does go to the ground, I am comfortable on the ground. I believe I am the better all around fighter than he is, but we will see in the cage on Wednesday.
Q: What do you expect out of him in this fight?
A: I don't think he is gonna want to stand with me in all honesty. I think what he is gonna try and do is come out and touch gloves, feel each other out and try and press me and look for a shot and try and take me down and grind me out, but its not gonna happen if I have anything to say about it. He's a strong guy, good wrestler, has a 7-1 record for a reason, but I am gonna go in there and impose my game plan.
Q: What s the key for you in this fight?
A: Probably just working my jab, keeping my distance and finishing fights like I always do. Everyone has a game plan till they get in there and it actually happens. So we will see what happens when we get in there.Whether I take the first punch or he does, anything can happen after that.
Q: What would winning the title mean to you?
A: Oh man, its huge. Every fight in my eyes is a title fight, every fight is the biggest fight for me. But always being known as the 2011 NAAFS Amateur Champion is huge. Its one of the biggest organizations in Ohio if not the Nation, all these guys going to Bellator and UFC. If your not fighting to go to the big show, there is no reason to be in the cage. I would love to represent the NAAFS as their champion.
Q: Do you have a prediction on how it ends?
A: Yeah, with my hand raised. Whether its a KO, TKO, submission, I don't plan on going to the judges. If it has to, then it does, but I plan on finishing this fight one way or another.
Q: Have you given any thought as to how many fights you want before you turn pro?
A: I think probably 8-10 amateur fights cause I am still young in this sport. I wanna get a couple grappling and kickboxing matches in there to round my game.
Q: You are someone a lot of other fighters seem to like. For example, Jessica Eye at your last fight said "you are a nice guy and humble", is that important to you?
A: Yeah, I mean, its a contact sport, we hit each other. Whether you like each other or not, I believe you should be respectful and humble. There's nothing like getting in there and getting hit and hitting a guy, but sharing a drink afterwords is always a great feeling. I am friends with four of the five guys I fought. Being humble I follow from my family. My mom raised me to be a good kid.
Q: You train with a great team at Vanyo, whats the benefit of being with them?
A: We have a lot of different styles. Anywhere from Tae Kwon Do to others. Mr. Vanyo is very knowledgeable, he has been around the block. A wide range of fighters, they aren't just a team, but a family. That's why I am there, they aren't a team, they are my family.
Q: Before we finish, anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: Yeah, like you were saying before, my family and friends, my team, and guys who have really helped me like my buddy Ray. Intimidation Clothing for sponsoring me and giving me free stuff, gotta love that. Thank yo, I appreciate the interview. And the NAAFS for giving me a shot at the title, Cant wait to get in there on the 23rd.