Dynamic movement and explosive striking of Mikhail Zayats proved to be too much for the Finnish light heavyweight prospect Juha “Juice Saarinen at the Cage 18 show on the 3rd of March in Turku, Finland. Bigger Saarinen didn’t get the chance to use his size advantage against the Russian veteran who moved lightly on the feet and peppered the Finn with fast strikes on the feet. Highlight of the first round was a spinning backfist from Zayats that landed clean on Saarinen’s head wobbling the Finn. In the second round Zayats turned up the heat even more and exploded with a flurry of heavy strikes that sliced Saarinen’s eyelid open. The ref asked the doctor to take a look at Saarinen’s eye and they decided to call it quits with no complaints from Saarinen who had trouble with his vision. Last night’s TKO win moves Zayats’ record to 15-6 overall. Combat Sambo world champ Zayats has now won five of his last six fights with the lone loss being to Brazil’s Vinny Magalhaes in the M-1 championship bout.

Mikhail Zayats' explosive striking was his key to victory at Cage 18. Photo by Antti Latva-Kyyny

Cage welterweight champion Ville Räsänen fought a late replacement Valdas Valancius after Sweden’s Assan Njie pulled out of the fight just days before the event. However because this chance the Cage welterweight belt wasn’t on line. Lithuanian Valancius made it clear from the start that he didn’t just come to fight: he came to win. While Räsänen was able to land few heavy low kicks, it was Valancius stiff jab and looping overhand punches that did the most damage in the first round. After mid way point of first round Räsänen got wobbled by one of those looping punches and the Finn saw it best to take the fight to the ground. In the second round the fight went to Räsänen’s favor as he got Valancius down on the ground and quickly progressed to mount. Räsänen rained down heavy blows from the top and it looked like the ref was going to stop it any seconds but Valancius hung in there and was able to make it to the final round. In the third round Räsänen was again finding success with the low kicks but the Lithuanian fired back with huge hooks that send the Finn stumbling backwards. Valancius bounced on Räsänen and continue to maul him against the fence. Even though Räsänen managed to stay on his feet, he was clearly out of it and the ref stopped the fight at 1.46 of the third round. Valancius’ win over Räsänen was the biggest surprise of the night. According to the information that MMAViking got last night, the two will have a immediate rematch at the next Cage show and that time the Cage championship belt will be at stake.

Valancius' looping punches landed with good accuracy. Photo by Antti Latva-Kyyny

In the second welterweight bout of the main card Sweden’s Nicolas Musoke choked out Finland’s Kai Puolakka with a slick ten finger guillotine in the third round. The first two rounds were quite uneventful with the visibly much bigger Musoke controlling Puolakka against the cage. In the third round Puolakka went for broke and over committed on a takedown attempt. Musoke took advantage of the situation and slapped on a airtight guillotine that sent Puolakka to wonderland for a brief movement. Constantly improving Musoke is now 8-2 in his pro career and certainly ready for bigger fights.

Musoke's slick guillotine put Puolakka to sleep. Photo by Antti Latva-Kyyny

In the prelim fights Helsinki-based Chechen Musa Amagov continued on his impressive ways dominating Lithuanian Sergei Kabalinov for one and a half rounds. At the mid way of the second round Amagov went for a leg lock and forced Kabalinov to tap to a straight ankle lock.

Amagov showed off his dynamic striking skills but ended the fight with a sub. Photo by Antti Latva-Kyyny

Leg lock was also the way to victory for Turku’s own Timo-Juhani “Tipi” Hirvikangas. The ADCC veteran took his opponent Miika Kauppinen down after a feeling out period and from the top dropped down for a leg lock. Hirvikangas quickly locked a heelhook and forced Kauppinen, a fellow leg lock artist, to tap at little over one minute of the first round.

Complete results

FW: Aleksi Kainulainen vs Arvydas Zilius: Zilius by TKO at 1:34 of the 2nd round
BW:Toni Tauru vs Oleg Khromov: Tauru by UD
WW: Juho Valamaa vs Jussi Pulkkinen: Valamaa by TKO at 3:38 of first round
BW:Timo Juhani Hirvikangas vs Miika Kauppinen: Hirvikangas by heelhook at  1:11 of the first round
LW: Makwan Amirkhani vs Aleksei Povulans: Amirkhani by UD
WW: Musa Amagov vs Sergei Kabalinov: Amagov by straight ankle lock at 3:22of the 2nd round
WW: Kai Puolakka vs Nicholas Musoke: Musoke by guillotine choke at 1:39 of the 3rd round
WW: Ville Räsänen vs Valdas Valancius: Valancius by TKO at 1:46 of the 3rd round
LHW: Juha Saarinen vs Mikhail Zayats: Zayats by TKO cut at 3:36 of the 2nd round

Check out more great Cage 18 fight photos at Kulmassa.fi’s gallery!

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