MMA Viking’s Official Nordic Top Five Rankings
Below are updated MMA Viking rankings for Nordic MMA for the first quarter of 2012. Rankings from November 2011, can be seen here, while the next update to the rankings will be done after the UFC Stockholm event in mid April.
- Jon Olav “the Viking” Einemo, Norway
- Jorgen “the Last Viking” Kruth, Sweden
- Jarno Nurminen, Finland
- Eddy Bengtsson, Sweden
- Kalle Da Silva, Finland
Summary: Nordic HW is still surprisingly thin and inactive if you consider the fact that Nordic folks aren’t that small in general. Despite losing both of his UFC bouts, Norwegian grappler turned striker, Jon Olav Einemo is still the top dog. Kruth made a comeback at the Rumble of the Kings after a two year layoff, got a nice win over Japan’s Yusuke Kawaguchi and jumped straight to number two. Kruth will drop down to 205 for his UFC debut at the Stockholm event in April.
- Alexander ”the Mauler” Gustafsson, Sweden
- Marcus ”Caveman” Vänttinen, Finland
- Toni Valtonen, Finland
- Juha Saarinen, Finland
- Timo Karttunen, Finland
Contenders: Ilir Latifi (Swe), Antti Kästämä (Fin), Magnus Strandner (Swe)
Summary: UFC’s rising star Gustafsson has made it at the international level. If the Mauler was able to beat Little Nog in Stockholm, he will be close to getting a title shot against the feared Jon Bones Jones. The recent replacement in Thiago Silva will not be as high-profile of a bout, but will still be an opportunity for the Swede to achieve an impressive 6 win and 1 loss in the UFC with a victory. Juha Saarinen lost to highly regarded Mikhail Zayats of Russia at the Cage 18 but keeps his position in the rankings since there’s little competition for the spots. Helsinki’s Antti Kästämä looked impressive in quickly choking Kalle Da Silva in a 97 kilo catchweight bout.
- Mats Nilsson, Sweden
- Tor “the Hammer” Troeng, Sweden
- Assan “the Black Attack” Njie, Sweden
- Lucio “Spartan” Linhares, Finland
- Magnus “Jycken” Cedenblad, Sweden
Contenders: Mikkel Parlo (Den), Jack Hermansson (Nor), Mikkel Guldbaek (Den), Simon Carlsen (Den), Victor Cheng (Swe)
Summary: Mats Nilsson climbs up to the top by beating UFC veteran Tommy Speer in February of 2012 at Cage Warriors show in Beirut. Nilsson has now a great 8-1 overall record and won his last four fights. Umea’s Tor Troeng takes the second spot with a TKO win over Czech veteran Andre Reinders in December 2011. Hard competition for the top five spots as there are loads of promising up-n-comers in the contender section.
- Martin ”Hitman” Kampmann, Denmark
- Gunnar Nelson, Iceland
- Papy ”Makambo” Abedi, Sweden
- Simeon ”the Grin” Thoresen, Norway
- Andreas Stahl, Sweden
Contenders: Bruno Carvalho (Swe), Nicolas Musoke (Swe), Ville Räsänen (Fin), Nicolas Dalby (Den), Besam Yousef (Swe), David Bielkheden (Swe), Jonatan Westin (Swe)
Summary: UFC title contender Martin Kampmann just beat Thiago Alves and cemented his status as one of the best welterweights in the world. Icelandic grappling wizard Gunnar Nelson made the long awaited return to MMA and won yet again by submission against Ukrainian veteran Alexander Butenko at the Cage Contender show in Ireland. It shouldn’t take long for the undefeated Nelson, who is probably the most promising of all Nordic fighters, to get signed with a major promotion. Sweden’s Papy Abedi looked good early on against Alves but eventually got submitted. Abedi’s second UFC fight will tell us more about his future in the promotion.
- Anton Kuivanen, Finland
- Reza ”Mad Dog” Madadi, Sweden
- Niko Puhakka, Finland
- Juha-Pekka Vainikainen, Finland
- Diego Gonzalez, Sweden
Contenders: Janne Tulirinta (Fin), Kenneth Rosfort-Nees (Den), Claes Beverlöv (Swe)
Summary: Nordic LW division is super tough like the weight class is all over the world. UFC fighters Kuivanen and Madadi take the first two spots. Kuivanen lost his UFC debut by points as an underdog, while Madadi’s debut was postponed to Stockholm’s event. Vainikainen continues to climb up the ladder with a stoppage win over UFC veteran Kyle Watson at the Cage Warriors show in Libanon. Swedish veteran Diego Gonzalez has found his rhythm again. Although Gonzalez dropped a decision to Andre Winner in December, he came back with a submission win over Ivica Truscek. Tulirinta raised his stock by beating up Claes Beverlöv at the Cage Challengers II show in December.
- Joachim ”Hellboy” Hansen, Norway
- Tom ”Stoneface” Niinimäki, Finland
- Martin Svensson, Sweden
- Joni Salovaara, Finland
- Matteus Lähdesmäki, Finland
Contenders: Hamid Corassani (Swe), Greger Forsell (Fin), Risto Koivisto (Fin), Nicklas Bäckström (Swe)
Summary: Nordic legend Hellboy Hansen still keeps the top spot even when he hasn’t fought since September 2011 and with no fights in sight. Niinimäki, who has won his last seven fights, was supposed to fight at Cage 18 but his opponent cancelled. Niinimäki signed a new management deal with one of the biggest players in the business and there’s hope that we’ll see the Finn in the big leagues soon. Gigantic Svensson beat UK’s John Cullen and won the SFC belt in December 2011. Finland’s Matteus Lähdesmäki takes the fifth spot after he choked out highly regarded Graham Turner at the Cage Warriors show in Libanon.
- Sirwan ”Zohan” Kakai, Sweden
- David Haggström, Sweden
- Heikki Tiilikka, Finland
- Thomas Bäck, Sweden
- Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas, Finland
Contenders: Janne Elonen-Kulmala (Fin)
Summary: Kakai, who is currently training at the American Top Team in Florida, is a step ahead of everyone else. ADCC veteran Tipi Hirvikangas has fought and won twice since the last rankings were made and showed improvement in all areas of MMA.
WOMEN (All Weight Classes)
- Katja Kankaanpää, Finland.
- Hanna Sillen, Sweden
- Maiju Kujala, Finland
- Lina Eklund, Sweden
- Outi Louhimo, Finland
Summary: Undefeated Kankaanpää (interview at MMAViking) will meet the biggest challenge of her career so far when she fights Japanese Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi (interview at MMAViking) at the Botnia Punishment show. StrikeForce vet Maiju Kujala has had bad luck with injuries and other unclear issues that have lead to her fights being cancelled. Hanna Sillen put on a good show at the Rumble of the Kings and takes the second spot in the rankings.
MMA Viking’s ranking criteria.
A fighter can be ranked in MMAViking’s Official Nordic Top Five rankings if he/she meets following conditions:
- Born or permanently living in one of the Nordic countries (Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden)
- Fought in MMA within a year
Note 1: Rankings are always somewhat subjective no matter how you do them. Things that we try to emphasize when we rank the Nordic fighters: actual results, activity and quality of opponents.
Note 2: Fighters that drop down or go up a weight class will not be ranked in their previous weight class when it seems that the move is somewhat permanent. However their previous status in the upper or lower weight class will be taken into consideration when ranking them in their new weight class. Weight class changes will be handled on a case by case basis since there’s hard to find any universal rules for these cases.
Next update to the rankings will be done after the UFC Stockholm event in mid April.