The Rytmikorjaamo venue in Seinäjoki, Finland is as intimate as a sauna on a midsummer’s eve. It was my first time in this legendary location and the event was not shy to deliver great action to a cold autumn Friday night. The event was sold out and for the first time in Botnia Punishment’s history, the event was also streamed live on their Facebook page. The evening presented nine pro fights for us and out of those fights, four fights were quick first round stoppages.
The night was started by Daniel Winiarczyk and Viktor Gustavsson, perhaps it was the pro debut jitters that got to the fighters as neither one really seemed to pull the trigger. Eventually Gustavsson took the decision.
Timo Suihkonen and Tuomas Grönvall were no strangers to each other before friday night. They fought each other as amateurs last year and that fight was judged as a draw. Unfortunately they still didn’t get closure as after ten minutes of fighting the judges saw friday nights fight as a draw.
As hometown star Matias Rantala entered the ring to face swedish wrestling champion Alexander Bergman the crowd exploded. Bergman didn’t wait for too long to utilize his championship level wrestling as he took Rantala down quickly and started dominating the fight from the top position. At one point Rantala had Bergman hurt with a powerful right hand, but Bergman recovered and took Rantala down and secured a unanimous decision.
The fight between Juhani Aho and Miika Kauppinen only took a couple of minutes, but during those minutes we saw submission attack after another. Kauppinen had Aho in a deep armbar twice, but Aho kept his composure, slammed Kauppinen to the ground and worked his way to sink in a rear naked choke to win the fight. Aho also won fighter of the night prize for his performance.
Perhaps the most grueling fight of the night was between Jake Anttila and Ali Ameziane. Fight took place in all aspects of mixed martial arts, both fighters were dead tired on the third round. Anttila won the fight via decision.
Makwan Amirkhani has said some harsh words before his fight against Johannes Isaksson, but he delivered what he promised. The fight started quite slowly, but as soon Amirkhani saw an opening he capitalized on it and jumped on a leg and secured the heel hook that left Isaksson limping after the fight. Amirkhani truly has star quality, he is a finnish wrestling champ and training with a great gym like FinnFighters Gym will definitely improve his skills.
Experience vs. youth, it’s a consept that’s no stranger to the world of mixed martial arts. Jarkko Latomäki returned from a year long break to face a rising polish fighter Piotr Hallmann. Latomäki had a leg lock on Hallmann at the beginning of the round, but his grip slipped and Hallmann got on top and launched an assault on Latomäki. Unfortunately for the finnish veteran, the referee was forced to stop the fight in the first round. After the fight Latomäki announced his retirement from competing, he said that he had decided this to be his last fight, win or lose. Unfortunately his career ended in a three fight losing streak. Latomäki has had a great career and will truly be remembered as one of the pioneers of finnish MMA.
Also returning from a layoff was the Botnia Punishment champ, Olli-Jaakko Uitto as he took on Jordan Boussin in a non-title fight. Uitto gave Boussin no chances in the fight as he secured a quick armbar on the first round.
The main event for the evening was a fight between the grappling star Katja Kankaanpää and relatively unknown fighter from the United Kingdom Simona Soukupova. The fight was fast paced from the opening bell to the end of the fight, both fighters showing their well rounded skills. Kankaanpää had Soukupova in a deep kneebar at the end of first round and Soukupova retaliated with her own submission attacks at the end of the second round and almost submitted Kankaanpää. As the fight got closer and closer to the end, both fighters seemed to kick in the extra gear and go full blast, trying to secure dominance on the judges score cards, but eventually the fight was announced as a split decision draw. It was a close fight but many felt that Kankaanpää should’ve gotten the decision as she pressed the action more and dictated where the fight was fought by landing numerous takedowns.
Kankaanpää commented the performance to FightSport:
“Well that didn’t go as planned. Right from the start I felt that I wasn’t at my best. Being sick for a week before the fight took my strength away”