Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cage 15: Kuivanen takes the Lightweight belt; Puhakka wins by submission

Cage 15 event offered a night full of exciting Mixed Martial Arts bouts for the fight fans at the Barona Arena in Espoo, Finland.

Main event of the night was the Lightweight title fight between the champion Ivan Buchinger (16-3) and the challenger Anton Kuivanen (15-4). Beforehand the fight was seen as a classic striker versus grappler fight and that is also pretty much how it played out. Hometown hero Kuivanen came out strong with a heavy straight right that landed flush and seemed to set the tone for the fight. Buchinger looked slow on the feet against the explosive Finn and resorted to pushing Kuivanen against the cage. Buchinger worked hard for takedowns but Kuivanen stuffed them with ease and scored a takedown of his own near the end of the first round. In the second round Buchinger tried to push the pace by pressing forward but Kuivanen got the better of the striking exchanges, punished Buchinger on the ground with hard shots and sprawled out of the takedown attempts. Near the end of second round Kuivanen landed couple of hard low kicks that made Buchinger’s front leg buckle. In the third and final round Kuivanen managed to hit Buchinger with a flurry of strikes that wobbled Buchinger on the feet. In survival mode Buchinger shot for a takedown but ended up on the bottom. Kuivanen rained heavy strikes from the top and the referee was very close to stopping the fight with a minute left but the gutsy Slovakian pulled through and made it to the bell. Kuivanen was awarded with a lopsided unanimous decision and the Cage lightweight belt. The Finnish striking machine has now won his last eight fights. A dominant performance over a high level Euro lightweight in Buchinger proves that Kuivanen is definitely ready for bigger stages and tougher challenges.
Finnish Lightweight star Anton Kuivanen is ready for big leagues. Photo by

In the second title fight of the night Finnish warriors Ville Räsänen and Olli-Jaakko Uitto locked horns for the Cage welterweight belt. In the first round the strong grapplers fought a lot in the clinch against the cage and exchanged knee strikes. Near end of the round Räsänen stuffed Uitto’s takedown and dropped down for a guillotine choke. The choke looked tight but experienced submission grappler Uitto defended well and eventually popped his head out. In the second round Räsänen got in couple of heavy shots on the feet that made Uitto shoot for takedowns. It looked like Uitto hurt his knee in one of those takedown attempts and couldn’t continue after the second round. Uitto’s injury meant that Ville Räsänen got a TKO win in his first title defense and took the belt back to Imatra.

Finnish lightweight powerhouse Niko Puhakka (23-11) made short work of Spain’s Manuel Garcia (20-12). Garcia, who has been fighting since 1995, is a true veteran of the sport and a very good grappler with twelve submission wins on his record. It was obvious that Puhakka had the advantage on the feet and that Garcia wanted to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible. After a feeling out period Garcia got what he wanted and took Puhakka down but the strong Finn quickly swept his opponent and got on top. Puhakka landed couple of hard elbows on Garcia on the ground. As Garcia was working his way up, Puhakka quickly spun to his back and slapped a rear naked choke on the Spaniard. Puhakka didn’t even have any hooks in but the Finn squeezed tight and forced Garcia to tap out. Puhakka has now won six of his last seven fights with the only loss coming to Chute Boxe’s Luiz Azeredo who beat Puhakka by decision at the Fight Festival 28.

The fourth fight on the main card was a featherweight bout between Finland’s rising young star Joni Salovaara (8-4) and then undefeated Estonian grappler Jorgen Matsi (5-1). Right off the bat physically strong Matsi pressed forward, put Salovaara against the cage and worked for takedowns. Salovaara however kept his calm, stuffed the takedown attempts and circled away from the cage. On the feet Salovaara landed hard upper cuts and a beautiful flying knee on Matsi but the bull headed Estonian kept pressing forward. The fight went to the judges who awarded Salovaara with the unanimous decision. The young Finn has made massive improvements to his game and is now riding a six fight win streak.

Cage 15 results
Cage LW title fight 155 lbs / 70,3kg: Ivan Buchinger vs Anton Kuivanen: Kuivanen by UD
Cage WW title fight 170lbs / 77,1kg: Ville Räsänen vs OJ Uitto: Räsänen by TKO R2
70,3 kg: Niko Puhakka vs Manuel Garcia: Puhakka by RNC R1
65,8 kg: Joni Salovaara vs Jorgen Matsi: Salovaara by UD
77,1 kg: Kai Puolakka vs Serfei Bigisev: Puolakka by UD
Women 65,8 kg: Katja Kalliokoski vs Ekaterina Tarnavskaja: Kalliokoski by RNC R1
79,0 kg: Reza Faezi vs Valts Visnevskis: Visnevskis by armbar R1
65,8 kg: Antti Virtanen vs Greger Forsell: Forsell by UD
65,8 kg Ilja Soisalo vs Viktor Tomasevic: Tomasevic by armbar R1

Check out the Cage 15 photo galleries at and

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