„It was my first time to visit Zagreb and luckily I had two extra days to get to know the city: my trip to Croatia was great, not least due to the good success in the European Championships.
The brackets were not the easiest for me and I had several tough fights. First opponent was Josip Artukovic from Croatia who I managed to submit quite quickly. Second opponent was Zbigniew Tyszka from Poland. I fought against him a tight fight in the European Championships 2008, so I expected he won’t let me go easy this time either. I was right and the match took 12 minutes and I won by points. In the semifinals I fought against Brazilian Eduardo Rios. I have fought against his students before and they all have really good jujitsu and I had seen Eduardos fights and knew he will be a tough opponent. The match did not start the best way, since in the beginning of the fight he passed my guard and took my back. Luckily, this happened in the no-points period. The fight was going 0-0 but then in the last minute I managed to take his back (though, he was standing) and win the fight with points.
The final was against my team mate Toni Linden. We have trained together several times and I know we are pretty even. The fight was really intensive, even though it took the maximum time of 20 minutes. Toni had some nice submission attempts but at the end I got the takedown and passed his guard winning the European title. It feels great to be able to represent Finland ones more in ADCC World Championships. I have already been there twice and fought against Demian Maia and Rafael Lovato Jr. Lets see who I face this time.
The competition in Zagreb was very well organized, the matches took place in three fight areas and the fights went on smoothly. Also the refereeing part worked really well, and at least I didn’t notice any major errors in that part. However, I did not like the new, BJJ style, weigh-in system where the weigh-in is made just before the fights. This way the fighters have to worry about their weight until the first fight begins, instead of completely concentrating on the fights. Of course, the good thing is that fighters can not lose so much weight within the last few days, which means that fighters weights are closer to each other. For me the new system is not a problem though, because I have always been a little bit underweight to my category.
My next fights will probably be in BJJ European Open on January. Last year I got bronze medal in black belts and silver medal in national teams, so this time I’m naturally going for the gold. Later in the spring I will also be heading to the Mundials.
My career is looking good, since I’m still improving, though I won my first grappling tournament already in the last millennium. I have been lucky to be able to train in our academy TJJK in the city of Tampere, which is one of the best grappling academies in Europe. For example, in Croatia our three member team took gold medals in three weight category out of the five available. I don’t believe I could have been as successful if I would have been training somewhere else.I also want to welcome everybody to train with us, so if you ever come to Finland, take your training gear with you and visit our academy.
Finally I would like to thank Pit Bull West Coast for the clothing they have provided for me and Attic Sports for other training equipments”