The co-operation announced in 2012 between Cage and Superior, the leading promotions in Finland and Sweden, is beginning to produce concrete results as the Cage 21 is filled with match-ups between Finnish and Swedish talents. The event takes place at the Logomo event center in the coastal city of Turku, Finland on the 2nd of February.
The two of the best Nordic light heavyweights Juha Saarinen and Ilir Latifi headline the quality card. Ilir Latifi is ranked #2 and Juha Saarinen is ranked #3 in the Nordics by MMAViking.com. Stylistically this is an intriguing match up between two powerful fighters who are both known for a grappling heavy fighting style.
Latifi won all 3 bouts in 2012, starting with a Glory World Series win on March 23rd. He followed up on another Glory World Series bout against veteran Tony Lopez in Stockholm before closing out the year with a decision victory over Jorge Oliveira at Superior Challenge 8 im Malmo.
Saarinen is on a two fight winning streak, including two recent stoppages. Both wins came in Finland, first in April he beat Baga Agaev at Lappeenranta Fight Night 7 then a 24 second TKO over Florian Martin at Carelia Fight 8.
In the co-main event hometown hero Timo-Juhani “Tipi” Hirvikangas will look to bounce back to winning ways after a disappointing loss to tough Frenchman Olivier Pastor at the Cage 19. Flu and difficult weight cut took the best wind out of the Finn but hopefully this time the preparations will go more smoothly for Hirvikangas. The Finnish grappler will be pitted against undefeated Ukrainian Evgeniy Odnorog who is also dangerous on the ground. Odnorog has won five of his seven pro bouts by submissions.
The card has also very interesting young talents on it. Juho Valamaa and Jussi Halonen are among the brightest prospect in the welterweight division. After losing his pro debut Valamaa has been on a tear and won his last three fights with finishes. Strong national level wrestler Halonen has been training hard with UFC lightweight Anton Kuivanen and results have followed. Brazilian grappling phenom Rafael “Rafi” Domingos is a frequent visitor in Finland and one of Demian Maia’s best students.
Cage 21 Fight Card
LHW: Juha Saarinen (9-2-0) vs. Ilir Latifi (7-2-0), Sweden
BW: Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas (5-2-0) vs. Evgeniy Odnorog (7-0-0), Ukraine
WW: Juho Valamaa (3-1-0) vs. Åke Bergvall (4-6-0), Sweden
WW: Tuomo Peltoniemi (2-1-0) vs. Jussi Halonen (3-1-0)
LW: Jani Salmi (1-1-0) vs. Kennet Mattsson (4-2-0)
FW: Rafael Domingos (2-0-0) Brazil vs. Simon Sköld (2-3-0), Sweden
LW: Teemu Packalen (1-0-0) vs. Otso Kataja (0-1-0)
FW: Aleksi Kainulainen (2-1-0) vs. Jaakko Väyrynen (4-3-0)
LW: Mikael Nyyssönen (1-0-0) vs. Niko Myllynen (0-0-1)
FW: Mika Hämäläinen (1-0-0) vs. Jere Varila (0-0-1)
FlyW: Harri Määttä (1-0-0) vs. TBA
A more detailed preview of Cage 21 will be published before the event.