Time and place: 27th of february at Vantaan Energia Arena in Vantaa, Finland.
The Cage promotion was recently sold to new owners, who are now looking to put the promotion back to the top of European MMA circuit. They held a smaller local show last year to test the organization. Everything went well and now it’s time for a much bigger show. The card has three title fights on it and is filled with fighters all around Europe so the level of competition is quite good. While there isn’t any big name fighters on the card, there are however loads of young, promising up-n-comers that are hungry for fame and fortune.
Cage Championship Title Fights
Bantamweight title fight (60 kg/135 lbs): Matias Klockars (5-0-0) vs David Aranda (3-0-0)
Two of the toughest up-n-comers in the bantamweight division clash in super exciting fight for the belt. These undefeated 135ers are lighting fast strikers on the feet, so don’t blink!
Klockars is a former kickboxing world champion and also holds a pro boxing record of 5-1. His wrestling and ground game has improved nicely over the years. He’s a physically very strong guy for a bantamweight and that has helped him out of some tough spots in his previous bouts. Klockars has already made a long career in different combat sports, so in the cage he is calm and collected and rarely makes any mistakes by rushing things.
Aranda also comes from a kickboxing background like Klockars. Although his credentials aren’t as good as his foe’s, he is still highly dangerous on the feet. The young Spanish has slick hands and pretty good combos on the feet. Aranda trains his grappling with Brazilian BJJ black belt Yan Cabral, who is 8-0 in MMA at the moment. Aranda himself is highly capable on the ground too and has competed successfully in BJJ and grappling tournaments. He has a good kimura from the side control, which he has used to set up submissions in his past fights and matches.
Prediction: this bout has EXPLOSIVES stickers stamped all over it! Both guys are aggressive, skilled and explosive on the feet, so I’m hoping for a great, technical stand up war. Aranda is slick on the feet, but I feel that Klockars has the advantage in the power department.
Lightweight title fight (70 kg/155 lbs): Jarkko Latomäki (15-6-0) vs Oriol Gaset (10-3-0)
Like the bantamweights, also the lightweight title contenders are pretty similar fighters. Latomäki and Gaset are wrestling oriented fighters, who are strong as hell, like to put people on their back and pound’em to Bolivia.
Jarkko “Pohjanmaa’s Forging Hammer” Latomäki is extremely physical fighter, who relies on brute strength, great wrestling and relentless GnP in his fights. After racking up four consecutive wins Latomäki suffered a loss in his last fight, but it was due to the fact that he injured his leg in the bout. Latomäki has been working on his boxing lately and has also fought amateur boxing bouts. I saw one of his boxing fights live, where he really nailed his opponent with a beautiful liver shot. So maybe we get to see a new and improved striker in Latomäki.
Oriol Gaset has a not very frightening nickname: Cookie Monster. But trust me, this Spanish matador can be a monster in the cage. Gaset has a good physique for a LW, which he uses it effectively for taking down his opponents. Gaset is strong in the clinch and also has great throws from it. Gaset comes to this fight riding a three fight win streak. He has lost just two times in last eight fights and those losses were to Reza Madadi and Che Mills, who are both really good fighters.
Prediction: Loads of clinch fighting, numerous takedowns, tons of GnP and probably few head squeezing chokes is what I’m looking for of this fight and probably will get it too. This is a very even match up, so it’s likely going to be an exhausting grind fest and in that case conditioning might be the decisive thing.
Middleweight title fight (84 kg/185 lbs): Timo Suhonen (9-1-1) vs Matti Mäkelä (9-8-0)
The middleweight title fight probably isn't as high level as other two title fights from the athletic point of view, but it should be a entertaining and exciting bout between two aggressive young man.
Timo “Tantrum” Suhonen is an all round fighter who comes from a kickboxing background. Suhonen is known for his aggressive style and KO-power that he has both on the feet and on the ground. The Espoo Kehähait’s fighter has quite the same fighting style as his team mates: solid striking, tenacious wrestling and heavy GnP. He’s an experienced and persistent fighter, who won’t slump under fire like we saw in his fight against Lungrik, where Suhonen was in deep trouble early on.
Matti Mäkelä is despite having a very common finnish name actually from Sweden and represents Pancrase Gym. Mäkelä is experienced fighter who has fought all over the world, which is one the reason for his mediocre record. Most of his losses have come to tough guys Lucio Linhares and Petras Markevicius, who besides Mäkelä has also flying armbarred Gegard Mousasi back in 2005 at Fight Festival 13 in Helsinki. Mäkelä has vast technical skill set that he uses to compensate the lack of strength and athleticism that he sometimes suffers against more powerful 185ers. Mäkelä has now three consecutive losses on his record, so you can bet that he’s hungry for a win and aims to get one from this fight.
Prediction: Scorecards probably won’t be needed in this fight. I believe Suhonen is the better wrestler of the two and stronger than Mäkelä, which gives him the option to dictate where this fight ends up. Long limbed Mäkelä is slick on the ground, but he can hold his own on the feet too. Mäkelä has shown pretty good knee strikes and Suhonen certainly knows how to deliver a devasting roundhouse kick, which is why I expect this fight to be solved on the feet.
Ilja Soisalo (1-3-1) vs Laimonas Stancikas (3-2-0)
Risto Koivisto (2-1-0) vs Antti Virtanen (2-1-0)
Kai Puolakka (0-0-0) vs Lauri Tonteri (0-0-0)
Joni Haahka (4-3-0) vs Navid Yousefi (4-5-2 )
Heikki Tiilikka (3-3-0) vs Donatas Karlonas (2-2-0)
Ville Yrjölä (3-0-0) vs Tchavdar Pavlov (9-4-0)
Pasi Maliniemi (9-5-0) vs Olivier Pastor (4-0-1)
Tom Niinimäki (10-5-1) vs Lautaro Arborelo (2-2-0)
I'm going to see these fights live and will do a review of the event so check it out next week.