The Cage promotion’s 21st event will take place on the 2nd of February at the Logomo event center in Turku, Finland. The co-operation announced in 2012 between Cage and Superior, the leading promotions in Finland and Sweden, can been seen on this card as it’s filled with match-ups between Finnish and Swedish talents. Like the poster suggests the event was originally headlined by top light heavyweights Juha Saarinen and Ilir Latifi but unfortunately Saarinen’s knee injury cancelled the bout altogether.
In the 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. Before dropping a decision to Pastor, Hirvikangas had won four in a row and finished all of them by submission.
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.
Beforehand it might look that this will definitely end up to be a ground war between two grapplers but I’m not so sure about it. Hirvikangas has worked a lot on his boxing and this might be the perfect fight for him to test drive his new and improved striking. If the fight hits the ground, it should also favor the Finn who is a three time ADCC Euro trials winner.
Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas vs Miika Kauppinen at Cage 18
Evgeniy Odnorog vs Aleksander Malinovsky at ECSF
GB Gym’s rising welterweight Kai Puolakka also gets a challenger from Ukraine in the form of Evgeni Fomenko. Puolakka has been steadily improving his game over the last few years. Hard work with UFC lightweight Anton Kuivanen has paid off and the Finn has won five of his last six bouts with the lone loss coming to Swedish prospect Nico Musoke a year ago in the Cage 18 in Turku. Among Puolakka’s recent wins are decision win over durable Johan Vänttinen and a flying triangle submission of Frenchman Gary Kono.
Ukranian Fomenko is an experienced fighter who has been fighting pro since 2008. Fomenko has 19 pro bouts on his official record but like most fighters, who fight on the former Soviet area, in reality several of his fights might be missing from his record. Femenko is a allround fighter with an aggressive style and a high finish rate: only one of his last ten fights have gone full rounds.
Long limbed and rangy Puolakka has steadily gotten bigger and nowdays the Finn is quite a physical fighter for the weight class. Shorter Femenko will have a reach disadvantage on the feet which means the Ukranian must find a way to close the distance or get the fight to the ground. Puolakka showed great cardio in his last fight so the longer the fight goes, the more it should favor the durable Finn.
Kai Puolakka vs Gary Kono at Cage Northern Storm
Evgeni Fomenko vs Arthur Guseinov at M-1 36 (video at Youtube)
Hometown playboy Makwan “Mr Finland” Amirkhani will probably set Logomo’s crowd on fire again with a flamboyant entrance that usually features an entourage of go-go dancers among other things. The talented grappler will put undefeated Frenchman Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy (4-0) to a real test.
Amirkhani fought four times in 2012 winning all of them and three of them by submission. In his last fight the wrestler choked out Belarussian Semen Tyrlya with a rear naked choke at three minutes of the first round. Lately Amirkhani has focused more on wrestling than MMA. In January he won the Herman Kale tournament’s under 66 kilo category in freestyle wrestling. 19 year old Duquesnoy started his pro career in 2012 and fought four times during the year. Duquesnoy has some background in wrestling but not to the extent that it would help against a wrestling bulldozer like Amirkhani. The young gun has finished three out of his four opponents.
Amirkhani versus Duquesnoy is a exciting match up between two young talents. The younger Duquesnoy might hold the advantage on the feet but Amirkhani will probably be the one who decides where the fight takes place. Amirkhani’s brute force and slick wrestling might be too much for the young Frenchman to handle at this point of his career.
Makwan Amirkhani vs Johannes Isaksson at Botnia Punishment XII
Tom Duquesnoy vs Mickael Ignaczack at HFC 5
Turku’s own Juho Valamaa might the next star coming out the famed FinnFighter’s Gym. The talented welterweight has a grinding grappling heavy fighting style. Valamaa brings a dangerous package to the cage: solid wrestling, slick submissions and hard nosed fighting spirit fueled with excellent conditioning. In the cage Valamaa will face off Frenchman Martin Ngongo who takes the fight on short notice as a replacement for Sweden’s Åke Bergvall who injured his neck a week before the bout. Frenchman has a aggressive fighting style that resulted to every one of his fights ending, in good and bad, to a finish. All of his defeats have come via submission and that could spell trouble against a grappling wizard like Valamaa.
Juho Valamaa vs Dimitri Ivanov at Raju 8
Martin Ngongo vs Ashley Farmer at Adrenaline FC 6
Cage 21 Fight Card
BW: Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas (5-2-0) vs. Evgeniy Odnorog (7-0-0), Ukraine
WW: Kai Puolakka ( 8-3-0) vs. Evgeni Fomenko ( 11-8-0 ), Ukraine
FW: Makwan Amirkhani (7-1) vs Tom Duquesnoy (4-0), France
WW: Juho Valamaa (3-1-0) vs. Martin Ngongo (3-3-0), France
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: Jaakko Väyrynen (4-3-0) vs. Simon Sköld (2-3-0), Sweden
LW: Mikael Nyyssönen (1-0-0) vs. Niko Myllynen (0-0-1)
FW: Mika Hämäläinen (1-0-0) vs.Vitaliy Lut (1-1), Ukraine
FlyW: Harri Määttä (1-0-0) vs. Gino Singh (0-0), Sweden