Cage 23: Vantaa 2 took place Saturday, Sept. 21, at Energia Arena in Vantaa, Finland. The event featured four title fights, including a featherweight championship showdown between Tom Niinimaki and UFC vet Walel Watson and a light heavyweight title tilt pairing Marcus Vanttinen and Joachim Christensen.

Niinimaki was able to successfully defend his featherweight strap with a second-round kimura submission of Watson. The victory moves Niinimaki’s winning streak to 11 fights, dating back to 2007. In that span, the 31-year-old has scored finishes in seven fights, six by submission and one via knockout. “Stoneface” moved his overall record to 20-5-1 with the victory over Watson. The victory comes just over four months after Niinimaki notched a unanimous decision win over WEC and Bellator veteran Chase Beebe. The loss for Watson was his first since being released by the UFC.

Meanwhile, Vanttinen edged Christensen via majority decision to retain the light heavyweight crown. Cage’s matchmaker, Olli Hartikainen, had been quoted prior to the event as saying that the promotion is giving its champ, Vanttinen, moderate match-ups right now as he continues on the path back from knee surgery and a rough patch in his career over the last two years. The victory puts him at 3-3 through his last six outings.

In the evening’s remaining two title bouts, Bellator veteran Eric Reynolds and prospect Kai Puolakka emerged with gold. Reynolds bested UFC vet Anton Kuivanen for the lightweight title. Reynolds scored a knockout just 30 seconds into the opening stanza of the fight. Puolakka won his welterweight title tilt with a second-round rear-naked choke submission of Domingos Mestre.

The event’s full results can be found below. To see more pictures from the event, please visit the fight night gallery on kulmassa.fi.

FULL RESULTS
Eric Reynolds def. Anton Kuivanen by knockout. Round 1, 0:30 – for lightweight title
Tom Niinimaki def. Walel Watson by submission (kimura). Round 2, 2:52 – for featherweight title
Marcus Vanttinen def. Joachim Christensen by majority decision – for light heavyweight title
Kai Puolakka def. Domingos Mestre by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 4:48 – for welterweight title
Juho Valamaa def. Mindaugas Baranauskas by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 1:32
Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas def. Artemij Sitenkov by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 1:42
Romain Perras def. Jussi Halonen by unanimous decision
Mika Hamalainen def. Simon Skold by submission (heel hook). Round 1, 2:02
Mikael Nyyssonen def. Rasul Hataev by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 2, 1:07
Tina Lahdemaki def. Stephanie Page by submission (armbar). Round 2, 4:30
Mikko Ahmala def. Aleksi Nurminen by majority decision

Photo: Tom Niinimaki (R) forces Walel Watson to submit (Antti Latva-Kyyny/Kulmassa.fi)