Finland’s top promotion “Cage” keeps on putting more big fights to the upcoming Cage 23 card. Earlier it was already announced that featherweight champ Tom “Stoneface” Niinimäki would defend his belt against UFC vet Walel Watson. Light heavyweight champ Marcus “Caveman” Vänttinen puts his belt on the line against Danish grappler Joachim Christensen. On top of all also Finnish lightweight star Anton Kuivanen is bound to fight on the card against an opponent that will be decided later. Cage 23 will go down on September 21st at the Energia Arena in Vantaa, Finland
Today the promotion announced that Finland’s rising welterweight talent Kai Puolakka (10-3) will fight for the vacant welterweight belt against Sweden’s Domingos Mestre (11-5). Both fighters are skilled in all areas of the game so versatile action can be expected once the cage door shuts.
After going 7-1 in his last eight fights GB Gym’s Puolakka finally gets a title shot. The lone loss came in the hands of Sweden’s Nico Musoke at Cage 18. At cage 22 in May of 2013 Puolakka earned a hard fought decision over tough Frenchman Mickael Lebout.
Gladius MMA Domingos Mestre fought for the first time in Finland all the way back in 2007 when he competed as an amateur at the MMA Finnish Open. Like Puolakka also Mestre is 3-1 in his last four fights. In his last bout Mestre decisioned experienced Dutchman Raymond Jarman at Cage Challenge 10 in June of 2013.
Two superb grapplers and leglock specialists meet in an exciting catchweight bout where Finland’s Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas (6-2) lock horns with Lithuanian Artemij Sitenkov (14-9). The weight limit for the fight is 62.5 kilos (139 lbs).
Hirvikangas is an elite grappler who has won ADCC European championships three times. Lately the Finn has been focusing more on improving his striking and physical attributes with significant results. Hirvikangas won his last fight at Cage 21 in February by a first round knee bar over Belarussian Evgeniy Odnorog. Shortly after the win Hirvikangas suffered a knee injury that kept him out of action for the remaining spring season.
Sitenkov is a clear cut submission specialist with all of his fourteen professional wins coming via submission. Experienced Lithuanian has been fighting pro for almost a decade now and during that time gathered notable wins over UFC sensation Conor McGregor and current Cage Warriors flyweight champ Neil Seery.
Welterweight Juho Valamaa (4-2) will return to action after a disappointing loss at Cage 22 where he was knocked out by France’s Shamil Ismailov. At Cage 23 the talented Finn will face off with Lithuania’s Mindaugas Baranauskas (5-3) who suffered a knock out loss to Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby in his latest fight in 2011.
Young bantamweight prospect Tuomas Grönvall (2-0-1) gets a challenge from more experienced Donatas Karlonas of Lithuania. Rapidly improving Grönvall has submitted his last two opponents with brabo chokes in impressive fashion. Karlonas, who hails from a judo background, is very hard to submit and knows a trick or two of his own.