Covering the regional Philadelphia MMA scene has been very rewarding. I’ve met so many talented teachers and fighters along with their support systems. I’m comfortable calling most of them friends and feeling joy when they succeed. Currently Paul “the Irish Dragon” Felder and Sean Brady have been representing the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ by doing battle in the UFC. Luckily, I had the chance to be cageside while they were fighting as amateurs and earning their way to the big show. They may have some company in the near future helping them put Philly in the bright lights of the combat sports world.
The middleweight division in Philadelphia is sporting a 3-headed monster of prospects that are lurking and moving closer and closer to stepping into the Octagon for the first time.
Kyle Daukaus should already be under contract to Dana White and crew. I’m shocked and disappointed that he has not gotten the call. even after getting a win on Dana White’s Contender Series. Daukaus is 9-0, with eight finishes via submission. His lone non-finish came on The Contender Series when he faced Michael Lombardo (8-1). Lombardo fought defensively the entire fight as the Philadelphia native schooled him from the feet and on the mat. Daukaus was very close to wrapping up the rear-naked choke several times but had to settle for the lopsided (30-26, 30-26 ,30-27) victory. It was very surprising that he did not get rewarded after that performance. He did not sulk, but instead went back to work and defended his CFFC title two more times and chalked up two more finishes. Do not be fooled by the eight submissions. Daukaus is much more than a ground guy. Most of his fights, he softens up his opponent on the feet, and then takes them down to end it. He has also faced the best competition possible, shown by the combined record of 56-22, from his opponents. He is like a professor in class as he is very cerebral and focused, and continually gets the job done. Dauakaus is also a certified Bang Muay-Thai instructor and helps much of the deep fight team at Martinez BJJ in the Northeast part of the city. Kyle Daukaus has earned the right to be among the best in the world and his time is coming.
Joe “Bodybagz” Pyfer is like a volcano that is currently erupting. Powerful and dangerous would sum up his career so far. Pyfer is 7-1 with six finishes and continues to impress. He had the first setback of his career in November when he got caught in a guillotine but just came back at Ring of Combat 71 with a brutal knockout of Chase Gamble. Bodybagz dominated the first round as he bullied Gamble with several takedowns and his filthy ground and pound. The second round, Pyfer kept the fight on the feet and landed a crushing left hook forcing his opponent to shoot in for survival, but Joe put a huge gash in the head with a knee and that was the end of the fight. Pyfer trains out of Balance Studios and is mentored by Sam Oropeza and has the explosion and highlight-reel capability that the UFC looks for. If the UFC comes back to Philly, he would be a prime candidate for a slot as he also has a huge following of people who believe in him and his future. Bodybagz has the “it” factor and I believe is on the track to also earn his way to the show or maybe an invitation to The Contender Series.
Andre Petroski is one of Joe Pyfer’s main training partners at Balance Studios. They are like brothers and have spent hundreds of hours helping each other improve and prepare for war. Petroski (5-0) is the reigning Art of War Cage Fighting middleweight champion and has finished all five of his fights with his arm raised due to three knockouts and two submissions. He has a big wrestling background and has a power submission game. I call him “the Executioner” as he is all about business and finishing the deal abruptly and moving on to the next challenge. Dre’ as his friends call him, is a student of the game and a sponge when it comes to technique and knowledge. He is always looking for the biggest mountain to climb and just faced his toughest opponent in Andre “Rumble” Hall. Hall was 9-0 as an amateur with a win over current UFC fighter Eryk Anders and brought a 4-1 professional record into challenge Petroski at AOW 16 where Petroski finished him in the second round via referee stoppage due to strikes. Andre will keep working and getting even better as he lines up his next fight and keeps his options open. The ceiling for Petroski is very high and the future very bright.
Which one of these gladiators will be the next one to get that UFC deal? Daukaus is the most likely as he already has the Contender Series exposure and could be called up as a replacement. It has to be difficult finding him opponents at this level. Maybe he will travel for his next fight? Maybe he will get that short notice call? Maybe they will offer him another fight on The Contender Series? As a fan, I’m hoping his phone rings with a three-fight deal and I’m watching him on ESPN+. Bodybagz is right on his tail and fighting at Louis Neglia’s and Dead Serious Promotions Ring of Combat is a smart move. ROC has been very successful as around 130 fighters went on from there to fight in the UFC. Petroski most likely needs a couple more wins, but by the end of 2020, it could be another story. Stay right here as MyMMANews continues to bring the best in combat sports coverage and keeps you up to date on these three regional blue-chip prospects.
Commentator for Art of War Cagefighting. More than 10 years experience in the PA/NJ regional MMA circuit. Commentator/post fight interviews. Television/media/event production.
The story of the fighter is what Bob loves about the sport. From the lowest level, to the highest, he only cares about the two warriors who do battle once the cage doors close. Everything else is secondary. Without their blood, sweat, and tears, he would not be here enjoying every minute.