Last night was a great night of fights at Energia Arena in Vantaa. Energia arena, mainly built for basketball, served first time as a venue for an MMA event and it proved to be an awesome place for MMA. The seats were pretty close to the cage and two big screens showed you the action if something was blocking your view. The place was far from sold out, but there was enough crowd to set the great mood for the night and the place had a cheerful feel. Production was high quality and eleven bouts took just little over three hours. Overall I and company I was with, some of them first timers in an MMA event, thought the event was really well organized, especially considering that this was the promotions first big event.
The Cage Bantamweight Championship title fight Mathias Klockars vs David Aranda: The fight started with a short feeling out period where both fighters were throwing kicks and single punches. As the fight progressed it became clear that Klockars was the faster and more powerful striker. Klockars landed couple of really hard low kicks, which would've made Mike Goldberg scream us about how much it hurts when the kick makes a thud sound instead of a slap. But then the fight hit the ground in a situation that looked a combination between Aranda rushing in with a flurry of punches and Klockars' feet slipping on the mat. Aranda passed the guard to side control where he showed excellent control and solid GnP. As Klockars was working on getting up, Aranda snatched his arm and locked in a tight armbar. Persistent Klockars tried to wiggle out of it, but was eventually forced to tap out. MMA Barcelona's David Aranda took the belt to Spain via armbar at 4.10 of the first round.
The Cage Lightweight Championship title fight Jarkko Latomäki vs Oriol Gaset: As I wrote in the preview, takedowns and head squeezes were to be expected from this fight and that was exactly what we got. After couple of short exchanges on the feet, Latomäki shooted on Gaset and pushed him against the cage. Clearly the bigger and stronger Latomäki then proceed to scoop Gaset's legs and put the spanish fighter on his back. As Gaset was trying to get up, Latomäki quickly locked in a guillotine choke and fell back on his side to finish it. Gaset tried to hang in there for a second, but the choke was perfectly applied and Gaset had to tap out. This was a great win for Latomäki, who cemented his status as a top european lightweight and clearly ready for bigger shows also. Don't get me wrong, I'd really much like to see him defend his the Cage title too.
Finland's Jarkko Latomäki is a monster with freakish physique and excellent grappling skills. Photo by Kulmassa.fi
The Cage Middleweight Championship title fight Timo Suhonen vs Matti Mäkelä: In a classic Finland vs Sweden bout, Finland's Timo Suhonen proved to be the better fighter that night. Physically stronger Suhonen controlled the fight by landing heavy shots on the feet and scoring numerous takedowns during the three round bout. Sweden's Mäkelä never gave up under pressure and had Suhonen in some hairy moments on the ground. The fight was physically very demanding as fighters went balls to the wall right from the begin, so it was no surprise that both guys were exhausted by the third round. Despite running out of gas the guys went at it and the crowd gave the fighters loud cheers for their efforts. Espoon Kehähait's Suhonen was awarded a pretty clear cut unanimous decision and has now a great record of 10-1.
In the prelims there were bunch of great fights too. Out of the nine preliminary fights only three went to judges decision. FinnFighters Gym's FinnFight and Shooto veteran, grappling ace Tom Niinimäki (11-5-1) made a much anticipated return to the cage after being sidelined for three years. Niinimäki, a very strong dude for featherweight, quickly took Lautaro Arborelo of Spain down to his comfort zone. On the ground Niinimäki showed excellent control over Arborelo and landed some heavy shots from the back mount, but couldn't sink in a choke in the first round. The second round was pretty much a copy of the first as Niinimäki quickly scored a takedown and took Arborelo's back again. However this time Niinimäki managed to flatten Arborelo and lock an RNC on him at 1.26 of the second round. Convincing comeback from Niinimäki who is definitely ready to face the top of European featherweight division.
Second prelim that must be mentioned was the fight between Jimmy Immonen of Shooto Lahti and Olivier Pastor of European Top Team from France. Immonen took this fight on few days notice as the original opponent for Pastor had to withdraw due to an injury. The short, but stocky Frenchman proved to be a very quick and agile fighter. Pastor landed some hard shots on Immonen in the fast paced first round and won the round. In the second round Pastor seemed to be running out of steam as he was moving around the cage with his hands held low. Immonen took advantage of the situation and landed a beautiful high kick that dropped Pastor like a sack of potatos. Pastor was completely out of it for couple of minutes, but eventually managed to get back on his feet and seemed to be doing just fine.
Check out more pictures and full results from Kulmassa.fi.
Pakkotoisto.com has over two hundred high quality photos from the event in Mike's gallery.
This event will be televised next weekend on the finnish MTV3 Max channel and I believe the footage will find it's way to that unmentionable special place on the interwebs, where the MMA fans can get their much needed fix of fight vids.
Next Cage event named Spring Break will also be held at the Energia arena at 8th of May 2010.