Can Finland Repeat Last Year’s European Open Success?

Pictured: Finnish Flyweight Anette Österberg (red) faced Sweden’s Gabriella Ringblom (blue) at 2016 IMMAF World Championships finals in Las Vegas. 2016 IMMAF EUROPEAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS BUY TICKETS: The grass roots development of Mixed Martial Arts under the Finnish MMA Federation has resulted in the national amateur team consistently being one of the biggest to compete on IMMAF’s international platform. Finland will be the second largest team at the 2016 European Open Championships and will be looking to replicate last year’s form that saw them conquer the 2015 European Open with three champions crowned. The 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships take place in Prague, Czech Republic, from November 22-26 at Prague’s Arena of Sparta. Finland topped the Gold count in 2015 at the European Open in the United Kingdom with Varpu Rinne (Women’s 135lbs), Sanna Merta (Women’s 145lbs) and Abdul Huddein (Men’s 135lbs), each winning gold in their respective tournament bracket. This year the FMMAF has registered 13 athletes for competition with a high number having gained valuable experience earlier this year at the 2016 World Championships. Among the national line-up is retuning World silver medallist Anette Österberg. The 30-year-old Anette Österberg earned silver at the 2016 World Championships in Las Vegas with victories over opposition from the US and Italy, before losing a Unanimous Decision to Sweden’s Gabriella Ringblom. Finland’s development of young talent will again be on display with the return of 19-year-old Featherweight prodigy Eemil Kurhela who made his IMMAF debut in july, already with 19 amateur bouts to his name. He will be joined by team newcomer Iris Nihti, also age 19, who will be making her first appearance in the Women’s Featherweight division. World Championships Light-Heavyweight bronze medalist Jaakko Honkasalo also returns following his semi-final defeat in Las Vegas to perennial top contender, Tencho Karaenev of Bulgaria 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships – Team Finland: Kerttu Kouki Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Age 22 Kevin Nieminen Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Age 20 Mika Kallio Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Age24 Matias Anttila Super Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) + Age25 Juho Laitinen Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Age 30 Jaakko Honkasalo Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Age25 Iris Nihti Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Age 19 Eemil Kurhela Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Age19 Anette Österberg Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Age 30 Chamia Chabbi Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Age 27 Niko Skonbäck Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Age 23 Tommi Leinonen Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Age 21 Joel Arolainen Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Age 20 By lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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