Seef District, Bahrain – In recent years, mixed martial arts (MMA) has experienced an emergence in the mainstream consciousness of Nordic Europe.
Now that the region is slowly becoming a hub of the sport, it has also started to produce a crop of top-notch athletes—with several of them choosing to strut their wares in BRAVE Combat Federation.
Among the highly-touted athletes that came out of the growing Nordic European MMA scene is Olli “The Amazing” Santalahti, a well-rounded super welterweight who owns an impressive professional record of 12-3 with five wins via submission and three by knockout.
Unanimously recognized as the top-rated 175-pounder in the territory, Santalahti put the organization’s entire division on notice by taking a short-notice bout against Lebanon’s Georges Eid at BRAVE CF 48: ARABIAN NIGHT last March.
Even though he managed to eke out a split decision victory over his game Lebanese counterpart in an exhilarating clash, the 27-year-old Finnish standout is far from satisfied with his performance in his promotional debut and makes no secret of his objective to climb the ranks.
“I am really hungry to get back in there. My debut happened on days’ notice, but it was an opportunity that’s hard to pass up. Now I am eagerly waiting to showcase my whole skill set because I have so much to offer. When I get back inside the cage, I will surely go for the finish,” Santalahti declared.
Joining Santalahti as a member of the roster is compatriot Abdul “ABBA” Hussein, a submission specialist who holds a 7-2 standing and has been a flyweight mainstay since 2018.
Meanwhile, Danish spitfire Louis “Spartacus” Glismann (8-2) is likewise doing his share of work in putting a premium on the Nordic European brand of MMA as part of BRAVE CF, winning two of his last three assignments in exciting fashion.
Completing the lineup is a stable of Swede exports led by Zvonimir “The Croatian Sensation” Kralj (7-4), a 100-percent lethal finisher who is ranked as the No. 1 heavyweight in Nordic Europe.
Holding up the fort alongside Kralj are Anton “The Pleasure Man” Turkalj (7-0), David “Fat Boy Slim” Jacobsson (8-3), Andreas “Real Steel” Stahl (12-4) and Bilal “Borz” Tipsaev (1-1).
Santalahti is admittedly blown away by the level of talent that BRAVE CF possesses, leading him to laud its scouting program.
“I can say that BRAVE CF is taking over Europe,” he said. “The fighters they are getting are high level. Though they originated from the Middle East, I think they are also the top European organization at the moment.”
“BRAVE CF is a high-level organization, and it’s my pleasure to be part of the roster,” Santalahti added.
Ever since its inception in 2016, BRAVE CF has bolstered its profile as a global MMA promotion, staging 50 shows in 21 different countries–six of which are European nations such as Northern Ireland, England, Sweden, Russia, Slovenia and Romania.
Despite the ravaging effects of COVID-19 last year, BRAVE CF remained committed to its mission to empower the European MMA industry by hosting four consecutive cards in Sweden during the weekends of August 2020.
Overall, BRAVE CF was able to hold seven events in a calendar year in the region, doing it under extraordinary circumstances due to the global health crisis.
This past January, the organization even kicked off the year with BRAVE CF 46 in Sochi, Russia.
BRAVE CF will be breaking new ground in Europe on June 4, adding Belarus to the long list of countries that the company has visited through the years.
In partnership with Rukh Sport Management, BRAVE CF 51: THE FUTURE IS HERE is set to emanate from the state-of-the-art Falcon Club Arena in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.
Santalahti believes that BRAVE CF will push the boundaries further in the years to come.
“To me, this is just the start. I eagerly wait for fighters from other countries in Europe to join BRAVE CF,” he stated. “They did events in Sweden last autumn. Hopefully, they can also come to Finland and hold an event in my home country. The possibilities are endless.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.