Art of War President and matchmaker Mike Bickings is one of the hardest working men in the business. The MMA promoter is like that because he takes it personal when a fighter trains his ass off for a fight and then for one reason or another, loses his opponent and is left hung out to dry after going through an excruciating camp and selling tickets.
Bickings goes into overdrive to make that fighter happy. Many times he is successful finding a replacement. Other times, it crushes him to notify one of his guys that their fight is off.
Recently, the Art of War promoter lost an opponent for a 170 lb title fight against super prospect Andre Petroski (5-1). The fight was scheduled to take place in South Philly’s 2300 Arena on December 8 at AOW 4.
Bickings, whose list of allies and connections continue to grow, reached out to his community and found Andrew Johnson (4-1) out of Maryland.
Johnson has been doing quite well with two decisions and two submissions accounting for his four victories while paving his path at Stellar Fights. Johnson fought on the same card as Petroski (Stellar Fights 35) and had the feeling that they would eventually meet, just not this soon. When he was offered the opportunity to come up I95 and take the fight on short notice, there was no hesitation.
“This is a winnable fight. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have taken it on short notice. Andre is a good fighter, I respect him. But I kind of knew our paths would cross and I am comfortable wherever the fight leads us. I have confidence in my striking and my wrestling coach. Traveling into enemy territory doesn’t phase me one bit. Once those doors close, it’s just me and him. I know he will have lots of fans there, but I’m also bringing some of my people from Maryland.”
Bickings has to feel good about adding this fight to an already stacked pre-holiday card. Art of War 4 is highlighted by the Martinez brothers. In the main event, Jesus Martinez takes on Tony Parker. In the co-main event, brother Will Martinez faces Jeremy Pender.
The fight-card also features the finale for local favorite, Steve McCabe, as he locks horns in a striking battle with Rick Nuno. Timmy Tyler battles Martinez BJJ prospect, Nick Mimoso in his pro debut. The undercard also includes Jon Tuxford vs Flash Santana in a heavyweight title showdown, John Brennan vs Eddie Shupe clash for the 155lb belt, Rodney Allen vs Bilal Khan at a catchweight of 160 lbs, Sev Cardenas vs Victor Georgi at a 140 catchweight, Nate Roman vs Jesse Stokes throw down at heavyweight and a highly anticipated 185 lb title fight between Adam Atiyeh and Joe Pyfer.
The very happy and feeling good, Andrew Johnson gave us a few minutes. Please listen below as he tells us some about his background in the sport, his team, and his view on the fight. I’ll be cageside calling the action with Justin Haskell and the undefeated 4-0 pro, Zak “Noble” Kelly. MyMMANews will have up to the minute results, photos, and a full recap.