The UFC has confirmed that Niklas Backstrom will make his promotional debut against Finland’s Tom Niinimaki at UFC Fight Night 41 in Berlin. The Swede, who holds a perfect 7-0 record, replaces Thiago Tavares who pulled out of the bout due to injury.
24 year old Backstrom has been pegged as a hot prospect in the sport by some of the MMA cognoscenti, including fellow countryman and training partner Alex Gustafsson. The former national grappling champion is coming into the fight off a spectacular 15 second TKO win over Max Coga at the inaugural Europa MMA Fighting championships (video below). Although Backstrom might be considered a grappling specialist, he has also proven to be a dangerous striker with four of his wins coming via TKO.
Niinimaki is vastly more experienced than his opponent with 36 professional bouts under his belt, his last being a split decision victory inside the Octagon over Rani Yahya at the TUF 18 finale. The Finn is enjoying an incredible 12 fight win streak and will be looking to extend it against Backstrom in Germany.
UFC Fight Night Berlin takes place on May 31 in the O2 World Arena with a middleweight battle between Gegard Mousasi and Mark Munoz serving as the main event. Two more middleweight bouts are expected for the main card with Francis Carmont set to take on C.B. Dollaway and unbeaten Brit Luke Barnatt down to face Sean Strickland.
Photo Credit: ufc.com
Video credit: Europa MMA TV