2012 World MMA Lightweight Scouting Report - #8 - Anton Kuivanen

Antoncagecelebration_large_medium

Name: 22px-flag_of_finland Anton Kuivanen
Nickname: --
Age: 27
Height: 6'0"
Location:
Helsinki, Finland

That didn't take long, did it? After Finnish MMA fans everywhere relished in the glory of Juha-Pekka Vainikainen's placement at #10 on the 2012 World MMA Lightweight Scouting Report, fellow Finn Anton Kuivanen (16-4) claims the #8 spot. Don't be fooled by the close proximity of these two on the countdown, however. Kuivanen is one of the best mixed martial artists in the country, and his improved skills may take him to the promise land of the UFC in 2012.

The 27-year-old is currently riding a nine-fight win streak since losing to WEC veteran Bendy Casimir in October of ‘08 by kneebar. Since that loss, Kuivanen has dominated his competition, beating notable veterans Tim Radcliffe, Ivan Buchinger, and Ryan Bixler in a run spanning three years. His most recent bout against Thiago Meller might be the most impressive of his eight wins, defeating the heralded Brazilian prospect by unanimous decision in an exciting affair at Cage 16 in October.

In that match-up, Kuivanen showcased all of the talents that have brought him to where he stands today. A striker at heart, Kuivanen also possesses developed skills in the other areas of his game. He's a solid grappler who has the technical know-how to work effectively off his back. He has above average takedown defense, good conditioning, and a physically superior frame that has helped him in tight spots in past bouts.

As aforementioned, Kuivanen's fighting style is deeply focused on his striking, and he's showcased more diversity in recent bouts. Specifically, Kuivanen has added various kicks to his arsenal, notably a front kick. Mixing in those techniques with good footwork and a solid straight-overhand combination have made Kuivanen far more threatening and unpredictable.

The jury is still out on whether Kuivanen can ultimately break into the UFC and succeed, but he's doing everything he can do make it a certainty. Not only has he trained extensively alongside fellow prospects in Finland, but he's branched out and traveled internationally to gain an edge. He's worked with Jorge Masvidal at American Top Team in Florida, Demian Maia in Brazil, and traveled to Russia, Mongolia, Thailand, and even China to hone his striking skills.

If that weren't enough, Kuivanen is likely one of the more popular fighters in the country. He was featured on a reality show called Sali that followed the everyday lives of MMA fighters. While that isn't completely relevant to what the report aims to show readers, it's difficult to ignore the fact that Kuivanen can draw in casual fans in his home country.

That point isn't relevant to our rankings however. Kuivanen's placement may seem a bit harsh considering his overall record and strength of wins recently. Unfortunately, it's hard to get past the fact that the Nordic region lacks the strong competition it takes to prove your worth to a couple of scouts like ourselves. I'm also not completely sold on Kuivanen's defense on the feet, but I can't truly nitpick at it without someone challenging him in that department. That isn't to say that Kuivanen won't prove us wrong, and that certainly doesn't make him a bad choice for the UFC's Swedish card.

HT: MMAViking.com's interview with Anton Kuivanen.

Check out more video footage of Anton Kuivanen after the jump...

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#1 - Rony Mariano
#2 - Aljamain Sterling
#3 - Chris Holdsworth
#4 - Josh Hill
#5 - Fabiano Fernandes
#6 - Claudio Ledesma
#7 - Sirwan Kakai
#8 - Kyoji Horiguchi
#9 - Leandro Hygo
#10 - Pedro Munhoz
#1 - Hacran Dias
#2 - Joey Gambino
#3 - Brandon Bender
#4 - Lance Palmer
#5 - Jim Alers
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#9 - Cody Bollinger
#10 - Bubba Jenkins
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Anton Kuivanen vs. Thiago Meller
Cage 16 - October 8, 2011

Anton Kuivanen vs. Ivan Buchinger
Cage 15 - April 29, 2011

Anton Kuivanen vs. Ryan Bixler
Fight Festival 29 - January 31, 2011

Anton Kuivanen vs. Tim Radcliffe
Cage 14 - November 20, 2010

Anton Kuivanen vs. Raymond Jarman
Cage 13 - May 8, 2010

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