CAGE 16 - 1st Defense on October 8th 2011 at the Espoo Barona Arena.
Cage Lightweight title bout: Anton Kuivanen (15-4-0) vs Thiago Meller (17-4-0), Brazil
Finnish Lightweight star and hometown hero Anton Kuivanen defends his Cage belt against the dangerous Thiago “Minu” Meller from Brazil.
The main event of the night features once again hometown hero Anton Kuivanen who is the biggest draw in Finnish MMA and thus a vital fighter also for the Cage promotion. The young Finn is known for his flashy striking and entertaining fighting style. American Top Team’s Kuivanen has a great record of 15-4, but it’s getting even better all the time. He’s 11-1 in his last twelve with the only loss coming in the hands of Bendy Casimir in a fight that Kuivanen was clearly winning before getting caught in a knee bar. Since that loss the rapidly improving Finn has won all his fights in a dominating fashion and is currently riding a eight fight win streak that includes wins over top ranked Euro lightweights like Ivan Buchinger (16-2) and Tim Radcliffe (11-4). Kuivanen’s highly versatile and explosive striking is still his main weapon of choice but during the last couple of years he has managed to take his wrestling and ground game to another level also.
Like Kuivanen, also the Brazilian veteran Thiago “Minu” Meller is far from a one trick pony. Most of his wins have become via submission but Meller is competent on the feet too and has a record of 15-1 in Muay Thai. Meller has snatched eight of his eleven submission wins by guillotine choke. He hunts for his opponents head in the clinch, locks in the arm in guillotine, drops down on his back and applies the choke perfectly leaving his opponents no choice but to tap out. On the feet Meller’s best weapon are the vicious kicks he throws, thanks to his Muay Thai background. Meller is a gutsy and iron chinned fighter who has never been knocked out and submitted just once. His four career losses have become in the hands of top level talent like current UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo and UFC lightweight contender Rafael Dos Anjos.
Cage Featherweight title bout: Tom “Stoneface” Niinimäki (15-5-0) vs Johnny Frachey (13-8-0), France
Europe’s number two featherweight Tom Niinimäki finally returns to the cage after being almost a full year without an MMA fight. Notable challenger comes in a form of Frenchman Johnny Frachey who tries to give Niinimäki his first loss at Featherweight.
According to information that I’ve receiving, the reason for the layoff was mainly due to no one wanting to fight Niinimäki in the Euro circuit while for some reason major promotions didn’t sign him. During this time Niinimäki however kept himself busy by taking amateur boxing fights and competing at the 2011 FILA European Championships where the 27 year old Finn won gold in submission wrestling. Niinimäki is a complete fighter: technically solid boxing on the feet, powerful wrestling and takedowns coupled with airtight grappling and heavy ground and pound. Niinimäki is undefeated at featherweight and has been lately crushing highly touted fighters. In his last three fights Niinimäki has beaten Dutch Ben Boekee (13-1), UK’s Dave Hill (9-2) and Lithuanian submission ace Sergei Grecicho (10-4).
France’s Johnny Frachey is an experienced veteran who has been fighting since 2003 and faced world class opponents like David Baron, Luciano Azevedo and Mizuto Hirota during his long career. Frachey is a strong and technically sound grappler who has fought at Lightweight for the most part of his career. Frachey trains at his own gym that is located in Athis Mons. Frachey’s strong points are his quick takedowns combined with versatile skills on the ground. His striking isn’t weak by any means but in most cases short and stocky Frachey will try everything to take the fight to the floor. This will Frachey’s second fight in Finland. At the Helsinki Fight Night event in November 2009 he suffered a decision loss to Niko Puhakka in a lightweight bout. Frachey is currently on a five fight win streak but the level of competition that he has fought lately has been weak compared to Niinimäki’s recent opponents.
Welterweight: Olli-Jaakko Uitto (8-1-1) vs Nicholas Musoke (6-2-0), Sweden
Two skilled fighters meet in a traditional Finland versus Sweden match up.
The Finn Olli-Jaakko Uitto has been defeated just once during his ten fight long pro career. Cage WW champion Ville Räsänen was able to stuff Uitto’s takedowns and outstrike him on the feet. In his other fights Uitto has forced the fight on the ground and finished most of his opponents by submission.
Nicholas Musoke fights out of Stockholm Shoot, the gym that also serves as a home for the UFC star Alexander Gustafson. While Musoke is competent on the feet, he is at his best on the ground. In his latest fight Musoke choked out Scottish Steven Ray (8-2) late in the first round with RNC and got a good win under his belt. Both Uitto and Musoke know their stuff on the ground and actively hunt for submissions so this fight could end up being an entertaining grappling fest.
Also on the card:
Lightweight (women 55kg / 122 lbs): Katja Kalliokoski (4-0-0) vs Karla Benitez (5-0-0) Spain
Heavyweight: Jarno Nurminen (5-2-0) Team Scandinavia vs Catalin Zmarandescu (6-2-0) Romania
Bantamweight: Heikki Tiilikka (4-3-0) vs Mikhael Daboville (4-4-0), France
Lightweight: Antti Virtanen (4-3-1) vs Viktor Tomasevic (3-2-1) , Lithuania
Lightweight: Lauri Väätäinen (5-3-0) vs Makwan Amirkhani (2-1-0)
Welterweight: Lauri Tonteri (3-2-0) vs Johan Vänttinen (4-2-0)
Welterweight: Jussi Halonen (1-0-0) vs TBA
Don't forget to check out my blog for live results on fight night and event report afterwards!