Finland’s highly regarded flyweight prospect Mikael “Hulk” Silander (7-0) will put his undefeated record on line against tough Russian Ali Bagautinov (5-1) at the Fight Nights “Battle of Moscow 7” event. The show is headlined by the undefeated Russian heavyweight Vitaly Minakov who takes on UFC vet Eddie Sanchez.

In his most recent fight Silander easily outgrappled Czech veteran Michal Hamrsmid (20-10) and submitted him in the first round with a keylock. With the win Silander bounced to number four flyweight on the European Top ten ranking.

Mikael "Hulk" Silander is quickly climbing the rankings. Photo by Antti Latva-Kyyny

MMA Viking chatted with the 26 year Finn who primarily trains at the Espoo Ring Shark gym with the likes of Juha-Pekka Vainikainen and Joni Salovaara. Recently Silander has travelled all over Southern Finland on a quest for new skills and sparring partners.

MMA Viking: How has the preparation for this fight gone?

Silander: “I have prepared diligently for this fight. I’ve had the chance to visit numerous gyms recently and learn from those visits. Besides training with my regular team at my home gym Espoo Ring Sharks, I have also travelled a lot to Porvoo where I’ve done striking sparring with Jaakko Dahlbacka (National champ in Kickboxing and Muay Thai etc). With Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas (ADCC vet, 4-1 in MMA) I have worked on my ground skills and also MMA sparring. And there have been some other tough guys that I’ve trained with for this fight. I feel that my game has improved again and the package is more solid than before.”

MMA Viking: What are your thoughts on the opponent?

Silander: “Ali Bagautinov is an interestering opponent with a strong background in Combat Sambo and wrestling. I’ve seen couple of his fights and I think this will be a tough battle.”

MMA Viking: The fight in Moscow will be your first abroad. Do you think this will have any effect on your performance?

Silander: “No, I don’t think that it will affect anything. I just hope that the local food is good so I’m able to refuel after the weight cut.”

MMA Viking: Have you made any plans for your MMA career beyond this bout?

Silander: “After this fight I will head to the USA with Joni Salovaara. We’ll travel to Dallas to train with guys like Will Campuzano, Edwin Figueroa and Jason Sampson just to mention few of the smaller guys at the gym. I don’t know about the future fights yet but I hope to fight at the Fight Festival in October. Overall my plan is to rapidly develop as a fighter and as an athlete. But we’ll see what the future brings.

MMA Viking: Anyone you would like to thank or give a shout out to?

Silander: “I must thank all of those who have been helping and supporting me for this fight. And of course my sponsors too: FAST, Sebastian Clothing, Label 23, Mivitotal, Fir65, Twins Finland, Länsi-Espoon Putki, Rk-Teknik. Visit and like the Espoo Ring Sharks Pro Team page on Facebook!