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Silander expecting ‘stand-up war’ in historic title fight

28/05/2013

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HIS opponent’s route to a CWFC flyweight title shot has been long and arduous, but Mikael Silander’s rise has been impressively swift.

By the time Silander (8-1) tried an MMA class for the first time in his native Espoo, Finland, in 2007, Neil Seery already had five professional fights under his belt. Nevertheless, their paths will cross on Saturday in the co-main event at Cage Warriors 55 at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland.

It will be Silander’s 10th bout in a professional career that began little under three years ago. His journey may still be in its infancy, but Silander has earned his place at the top-table of European flyweights.

“I was always interested in combat sports from a young age but it was only in 2007 that I started in MMA,” explained Silander. “I had no background in it so I suppose it could be said that I’m one of the new generation of mixed martial artists.”

Silander debuted in September 2010 and put together a run of seven straight victories in the space of 19 months, which included a first-round stoppage of fellow top-ten European flyweight Michal Hamrsmid.

The 27-year-old tasted defeat for the first time - via decision - when he took on Europe’s number two Ali Bagautinov in June of last year, but he returned to winning ways by submitting American veteran Wade Choate in October.

The intervening seven months have been used to perfect his game at the Espoon Kehahait camp alongside the likes of CWFC veterans Joni Salovaara and Juha-Pekka Vainikainen, leaving Silander confident that he’ll be the first ever CWFC flyweight champion when he boards his flight home at Dublin Airport on Sunday.

“My preparations for this fight have been great because I’ve had plenty of time and there’s been no need to rush things,” he said.

“I’ve been able to improve during the training camp and I’m just feeling really good about this fight. It was always one of my goals to fight for Cage Warriors but to get a title shot is an absolute honour.”

Silander insists that he has no fear of entering the belly of the beast to face Seery in his hometown this Saturday night, and although submission has been his preferred route to victory thus far, the Finn is predicting that this inaugural CWFC flyweight title bout will stay standing.

“It doesn’t matter to me where the fight will be held and if it is my opponent’s hometown. In this case I think all the pressure is on the shoulders of the home fighter rather than mine, so I don’t have to be nervous about how this fight will turn out.

“Until now my opponents haven’t been able to last the pace with me and I’ve capitalised on that, but I think Seery will be prepared and won’t have the same problems.

“We have seen a couple of his fights, he seems to be comfortable keeping the fight on the feet and I have to say that he has been impressive. But his style of fighting fits well for me and I’m sure we’ll have an interesting stand-up war.”

Interview: Paul Dollery

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