To kick off the UFC Fight Night 41 main card, European standouts Niklas Backstrom and Tom Niinimaki entered the octagon.
As a 6-foot tall featherweight, Backstrom is a very intriguing prospect in the UFC.
Backstrom is also a training partner of UFC light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson.
However, he was faced with a very difficult test against the more experienced Tom Niinimaki on Saturday afternoon.
Backstrom is undoubtedly one of the top prospects to come out of Sweden since Alexander Gustafsson, but the Finnish Niinimaki is also one of the most promising fighters in his weight class.
It was going to be interesting to see who would come out on top and we got to watch it all play out when the two men entered the cage.
How did the action go down?
Round 1: Backstrom opened with some leg kicks to utilize his range, but Niinimaki immediately closed the distance and got the fight down to the ground. Niinimaki was able to latch on to Backstrom and use his power to control where the fight was taking place, but Backstrom did attempt to get back to his feet. Once Backstrom was up against the cage, Niinimaki shot for another takedown. Backstrom was showing some nice takedown defense as he controlled Niinimaki’s leg, but Niiniamki was relentless. While Niinimaki was working for a takedown, Backstrom jumped and latched on for a guillotine choke that appeared to be deep. Niinimaki stayed calm and eventually poked his head out. Backstrom landed a big knee when Niinimaki went for another takedown and then he latched on for a schoolyard headlock that he turned into a bulldog choke before switching his grip to a rear-naked choke to finish the fight.
Official Result: Niklas Backstrom def. Tom Niinimaki via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:15
Below are the UFC Fight Night 41 results:
- Nick Hein def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- Magnus Cedenblad def. Krzysztof Jotko via submission (guillotine) — Round 2, 4:57
- Iuri Alcantara def. Vaughan Lee via KO (punch) — Round 1, 0:25
- Peter Sobotta def. Pawel Pawlak via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Maximo Blanco def. Andy Ogle via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ruslan Magomedov def. Viktor Pesta via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)