Art of War Cage Fighting returned after a more than year layoff forced by the global coronavirus pandemic as promoter Mike Bickings hosted the AOW 18 fight card live from the the Sportsplex in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. Doors for the event opened at 6 pm ET, with the first fight taking place one hour later at 7 pm ET.
In the main event, John Garbarino looked to successfully defend his title at 180-pounds against the challenger, Robert Sousa. Let me preface this by saying this fight was one of the best amateur main events that I have been in attendance to personally witness. With that being said, the hometown favorite, Garbarino, stood across the cage from Pellegrino MMA’s Sousa, and did so with intensity. The two men stalked one another, giving each other the stare of death before clashing in the center of the cage. The two combatants felt each other out on the feet. No major damage being inflicted in the standup at this point. The men are fighting off the cage before Sousa gets the fight to the ground and ends up on top in full mount. Round one should easily be given to Sousa on the scorecards, and the fans are letting Sousa know they do not like it.
Sousa immediately gets the fight to the ground in the opening seconds and looks for a head and arm choke. Garbarino is working off of his back. Sousa throws down strikes. They stand, Sousa takes Garbarino’s back and is looking for a rear-naked choke. Garbarino fights it off and Sousa takes him back down. They stand and Garbarino is throwing bombs and knocks Sousa down. The crowd erupts in cheer but the round concludes.
Garbarino must have watched the movie 300 last night because he comes out with the “Sparta” kick. The men continue to the canvas. Sousa ends up on top and then transitions to maneuver for a kneebar. Garbarino refuses to tap and works in his own submission attempts. The two fighters continue to battle it out to the bell and in the end Sousa earns the score of 30-27 on all scorecards. What an incredible fight and Sousa goes home with some new hardware.
In the night’s co-main event, just days after he and his wife welcomed a newborn son to their family, Patrick Brady aimed to keep possession of his Art of War Cage Fighting heavyweight title as he defends against the challenging, Gavin Nickel. This one had fun written all over it. Brady presented problems for Nickel right off the bat. Nickel, in attempt to avoid the heavy hands of Brady, would shoot in for a takedown, but Brady (who may have stepped on a wrestling mat once or twice before) stuffed each of those tries. Brady connected with Nickel and he went down. Brady continued to throw punches as Nickel fell. Nickel began to protest that he was hit in the back of the head, but it was actually Nickel falling down that was the cause of the connection with Brady’s fists. The strikes continue but the round comes to a close.
In the second frame, Brady continues to land his shots with both his hands and his feet. Nickel tries to shoot in. Brady continues to stuff the attempts and picks his shots. Nickel’s head is bouncing around like a ball and it appears he is about to be knocked out. Referee Bill Bookwalter jumps in and calls an end to the fight at 1:26 of the second round. With the win, Brady retains his Art of War Cage Fighting heavyweight title and was also presented with a title from Universal Fight League.
Complete AOW 18 results below:
Main Event – Robert Sousa defeated John Garbarino via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Art of War 180-pound title, also takes home the Universal Fight League title
Co-Main Event – Patrick Brady (champion) defeated Gavin Nickel via TKO – Round 2, 1:26 – Art of War heavyweight title, also takes home the Universal Fight League title
Heavyweight bout – Raiden Keller defeated Ian Allston via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:08 – RAIDEN KELLER NOW MEETS PATRICK BRADY FOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE ON JULY 31
140-pound fight – Dylan Harnish defeated George Byers via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) – Harnish calls for title shot following the contest.
180-pound fight – Nick Stephenson defeated Daniel Yakobov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
160-pound fight – Dominic Parker defeated Johnny Tansey via TKO – Round 1, 1:56
125-pound fight – Brandon Bohannon defeated Estevan Soto via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
135-pound fight – Michael McCaffrey defeated Anthony Hogeback via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
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