reports live from the A. Le Coq Sports Hall in Tartu, Estonia. The Raju 12 card includes 8 fights card pitting a mostly Estonian versus French fighter card, with the exception of late additions of Finland’s Perttu Paatola and Sergej Grecicho.

Jorgen Matsi of Estonia and Sergej Grecicho of Lithuania Headline the Card


The arena is packed, and all the seats are full. I would estimate around 2,000 people. They have all sorts of cool little areas around the cage, including various VIP seating with drinks and food, coaches, and goodies. It’s a cold night here in the college down, just a few hours drive from Russia, but inside this arena you can tell it’s going to be a good night.

The team behind the promotion is top notch as every detail is accounted for.  Posters and signs are throughout the town, and even advertising partnerships with such brands as Sportland (large sports store) make the event seem like the only place to be at on this Saturday night.

The Crowd Settles In Early

ANDRUS JOA (Estonia) VS RAIT RAIDLA (Estonia) – Amateur
This is the only Estonia versus Estonia battle, and the two go at it right off of the bat.  The two go toe-to-toe until Raidla is able to take the bout to the ground, but C-lass fight (bigger gloves and shinpads) is back on the feat by the final bell.  It’s Raidla that tries to take the fight to the ground again, but he eventually eats a knee.  Joa has the striking advantage and after landing some punishing kicks and punches is taken down and mounted at the end of the round.

These two fighters are exhausted as we head into the third round.  The last round starts as the second ended with Raidla taking mount and pounding away.  Good fight between two fighters of mixed styles.

Rait Radla wins decision.

So the crowd really comes alive when an Estonian hits a visiting fighter.  But Roumette has the advantage early as he looks to be the heavier striker.  Nei tries to bring the fight to the ground unsuccessfully, but finally finds his way to finish in a reversal take-down.  The frenchman is quick to try to secure a triangle.

Roumette must come from a kickboxing background because of his punch-kick combos.  Nei doesn’t want any part of it, and he again takes the fight to the ground.  Nei does a nice job on the ground working to the back and finally locking up an armbar for a finish.  The crowd is going wild, and coaches celebrate.

Kulter Nei wins by submission in round 2.

KASPAR KRAAV (Estonia) VS IDRISS M’ROIVILI (France) – Amateur
The French fighters can strike from a distance so far.  M’roivili is picking his shots early, but Kraav is trying to sneak in for a counter.  The two go back and forth throughout the round, but no major damage is done.  Kraav lunges in for a take-down late, but time runs out.

M’Roivilla is again landing the best punches of the fight, but the Estonian lands a few nice straight shots toward the end of the round and secures a take-down late in the round.  Again, the Kraav finds himself on top with a nice inside trip to start the third round.  Great round for the local as he is able to take the fight back to the ground with a double-leg take-down after the Frenchman gets up.  Trying to lock up a triangle from the top, the bout ends with the momentum for the Estonian fighter.

M’Roivili is the winner in the decision, and the crowd is not happy.  But overall a very appreciative and supportive crowd.

STEN SAAREMÄE (Estonia) VS ABDEL LIF (France) – Amateur
Sten is the most popular fighter so far.  It looks like his family and friends bought about an eigth of the tickets as the control a full section.

Sten is able to take take the fight to the ground early after navigating his way through the southpaw’s strikes.  The pace is fast and intense early, and the crowd is fully backing there man.  Full mount with 50 seconds left, but the Estonian is looking for a submission and has a tight armbar and it’s over.  The Frenchman tried not to tap, but his arm could not take any more as it was being hyper-extended.

Saaremae wins in second round by armbar submission.

The crowd is great here in Estonia as they applaud for all the fighters entering the cage.  Ulenurm comes into the cage to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.  Again the match-up styles of the French seem to favor the standup while the Estonian’s are looking for submissions on the ground.  And there Lauri is able to finish with a submission.

Lauri Ulenurm wins in first round by submission.

Juri looking for body and head shots.  The Finn however wants to get it to the ground, and two minutes in he has it there temporarily.  This is the third matchup between the two, and as history has shown it is Juri that dominates the standup, while the Finn has control on the ground.  Juri is a big heavy striker, and looks high then low for damage.  A single leg with two minutes left.  The fight is back to the feet as the Estonian is able to standup, but again it is Paatola that finishes a single leg.  Now he takes back, but time is out.

Interesting style matchup, but unfortunately for the Finn it starts on the feet.  Paatola shoots for a single leg, but can’t finish this time.  Big low right kick for the Estonian, and Paatola is tiring.  Taking a fight on two days notice is catching up with the visitor that can’t bring the fight back to  the ground. Another big low kick, and it seems this fight may be coming to an end.  Big punnces… upper cut, left and right hook, and leg kick.  The Finn saves himself by dropping to his back, but the referee stands up the fighters.

The third round starts and its the Finn looking for a take-down, but doesn’t have the energy to finish against the cage.  Huge head kick that lands flush, but Paatola won”t go away.  Another big kick, and the Finn stays standing.  Two minutes left, and the Estonian is taking his shots landing huge punches and kicks, but the Finn drops to hs back and is looking for a heel hook and it is close.  The Finn is cranking and taps the Estonian fighter!  Unbelievable comeback with 52.5 seconds in the bout.  Amazing finish!!

Paatola by 3rd round submission.

Mesdari is a real character and gets the crowd going with his entrance.  Quick left head kick snapped by the Frenchman… and a big one two and drops the Estonian fighter and he looks to be out for one second, but recovers.  The referee gives the local time  to recover, and the fight is back on its feet.  After another stiff punch combination Mesdari falls to his back, and it is Henri who is on top.  But from standing an upkick lands flush on the face of Henri.  But the Estonian takes top control, but it is the Frenchman looking for a heel hook.  The fight gets back to the feet and the two are slugging it out, and a kill shot from the Frenchman, but Hiiemae won’t go anywhere and the two fly into each other in full matrix style… and it is the Estonian who lands on top to finish this crazy round.

Round two starts and it is Hiiemae that takes it to the ground and spins around to take back.  A towel is thrown in the cage as a rear naked choke is slapped on, and it seems that the French fighter may have injured his right hand as he taps early.  Strange ending to a wild fight.

HIIEMÄE wins by stoppage in round 2.

Matsi walks into the cage after about 100 high-fives throughout the crowd.  What a fun and friendly guy…. but he has his hands full tonight inside the cage taking on a true veteran.

The two look very relaxed early.  Each looking for an opening, and it is Grecicho first to land. Both fighters in traditional stance circle each other, and Grecicho left eye looks red… and now his right looks cut after an exchange.  It looks like Matsi could have taken it to the ground, but decided to keep it standing.  Grecicho face looks messed up after very little exchanges.  Matsi defends a head kick, and the two are using their jabs to see who has the longer arms.  Big cut under Grecicho right eye and Grecicho seems desperate going for a flying knee.  The blood is pouring out.  Matsi catches a kick and grabs a body lock before letting go, fearing getting the fight to the ground.  The pace is picking up, nad Matsi looks for an upper cut as the spinning Lithuanian tries to land with swirling kicks and punches.

The doctor and referee look at the cut very closely, but the fight is not stopped.  Round two starts as these featherweights look to land bombs… overhand rights are the preferred punch to start.  Nice left hook by Matsi at the end of a missed exchange from both fighters.  First kick by Matsi, and it lands.  Matsi has his mouth open and is breathing a bit heavy and Grecicho is moving forward looking to land, and the tide seems to be turning here.  Grecicho pushing the pace, and Matsi looks to be a bit out of his element here as he defends punches and kicks.    Good punch from Grecicho, and the double-leg comes from the grappler and Matsi is taking punches on his back and against the cage.  The referee is looking close as the punches go unanswered, but the bell rings.

It’s the third round, and this will decide it.  After a few seconds, Matsi finds himself where he ended up at the end of last round… on his back.  Grecicho dominating on top with punches and looks for a rear-naked-choke as he locks it in, but Matsi is fighting it by holding one hand, and for now he is safe.  But this time, the submission comes from the other side, and Matsi is forced to tap.  The disapointed fighter still shows appreciation toward the victor… and they all pose for a photo together.

“You were perfect in the first round” says Grecicho of his opponent, as he thanks the crowd in Tartu in the post-fight press interview.

Stay tuned for pictures and video interviews.