As Chris Daukaus circled the octagon with his arms raised after a vicious knockout of Rodrigo Nascimento at UFC Fight Island 5, commentator Paul Felder could be heard joyously saying “Philadelphia is in the house!”
This hasn’t always been the case with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the ‘City of Brotherly Love.’ For many years, Philadelphia was only represented in the UFC by Eddie Alvarez. The Irish Dragon” Paul Felder” followed the Underground King in 2014 and to date has 9 wins in the Octagon and has become one of the best commentators in the sport. Felder’s teammate Jonavin Webb lived right over the bridge in South Jersey but did most of his training in Philadelphia. “The Spider” had a short-lived tenure with the promotion, coming up short on the judges’ scorecards in both outings. Webb is currently operating his very nice academy in Washington Township, NJ.
Until recently, Philadelphia’s representation inside the octagon was minimal. Philly has added much more flavor and talent to the deep pool that Dana White is building.
Check out the below list of fighters who are from Philadelphia and the surrounding area, some currently in the UFC, some certainly on their way in the near future.
Welterweight Sean Brady is another Philadelphian who joined the UFC in October of last year (2019) and has gone 3-0 in the promotion, pushing his undefeated status to 13-0. Brady is matched up next to battle Belal Muhammad (17-3) at UFC Fight Night on December 19th. Brady is coming off of an outing where he earned a ‘Performance’ bonus and has been dominant in all three of his fights, thus far. This is a huge fight for Brady and he could see a huge jump in the rankings with an impressive victory. Muhammad is on a 3-fight win streak and is a tough fight for anyone. This is going to be a war.
Northeast Philadelphia’s Kyle Daukaus (185) took a fight against Brendan Allen on six days notice in June. Even though he lost a decision, he battled like Hell and was on the back of Allen for almost the entire third round. It was Daukaus’s first career loss and the middleweight now holds a 9-1 career record. He is lined up to fight Dustin Stoltzfus (13-1) at UFC 255 on November 21. Daukaus was previoulsy on Dana White’s Contender Series and won a lopsided decision but did not earn a UFC contract that night. He kept working and fighting and when the opportunity arose, Daukaus was able to get that deal with the short notice call-up. Kyle Daukaus has excellent skills on both the feet and the ground where he is a black belt in BJJ under Will Martinez. I believe he will be in the UFC for the foreseeable future.
Heavyweight Chris Daukaus is the main training partner and older brother of Kyle Daukaus and was probably planting the seeds in Dana White’s ear as he worked Kyle’s corner on The Contender Series because he soon got the call and contract. Chris then quickly put his name on the UFC’s radar as one of their rising contenders with two vicious knockout victories. First in August, he finished Parker Porter with punches and a lethal knee and then at UFC Fight Island 5 he pummeled Rodrigo Nascimento in the first round with lightning quick hands and an elbow that earned him a performance of the night check. Chris has really dedicated himself to his conditioning and weighed in at a career low 227 lbs. He was as lean and as quick as I have ever seen him. His speed and cardio seem to be his plan of attack after listening to him speak in his post-fight interviews. Chris has always had heavy hands and been fun to watch and now that he has added the agility and quickness to his arsenal, UFC heavyweights need to take notice.
Featherweight “Senor Perfecto” Bill Algeo (13-4) has trained with the Daukaus brothers in the past and remains very tight with the Martinez BJJ fight team despite running his own very successful academy (Algeo MMA and Kickboxing). Algeo came out on the losing end on The Contender Series in June of 2019 against Brendan Loughnane but got right back to training and winning another fight on the regional scene. Senor Perfect is always in fight shape and stayed prepared for a short notice call which did come and stepped up on a week’s notice to battle UFC veteran Ricardo “the Bully” Lamas in August at UFC Fight Night in August. Algeo didn’t get the decision but was spectacular in a losing effort as both he and Lamas were awarded performance bonuses. Algeo is another fighter who is talented everywhere. He has excellent BJJ with a blackbelt, but would rather stand and bang. He is a very exciting fighter to watch and I look forward to his next match-up in a very deep division.
Welterweight Jeremiah Wells (8-2-1) was scheduled to do battle with Miguel Baeza in September at UFC Fight Night. Wells took the fight on less than a weeks notice but as the fight approached, Baeza was not medically cleared and the fight was canceled. No word on whether those two will still fight, but Wells did get his contract and will bring his skill-set and huge heart to the Octagon hopefully soon. Wells is the former CFFC and CES 170 lb champion and will be another excellent representative of Philadelphia who leaves it all in the cage.
You can see that Philly is making a nice contribution to the biggest and best mixed martial arts promotion in the world. The best is yet to come for most of these young men. Several pro fighters are right on their heels and are on the verge of joining them and adding even more Philadelphians to the mix. Among them are…
Andre Petroski (5-0 ) is a dangerous middleweight who is currently scheduled in the main event vs Aaron Jeffrey (8-2) this Friday October 16th at LFA 93. Petroski has finished all five of his fights and has a powerful grappling and submission game. He is the current Art of War Cage Fighting 185 lb title holder. Dre’ as his friends call him, is always studying technique and styles to maximize his physical attributes. He is an explosion waiting to happen. I believe he has UFC level skills and a huge ceiling. He could join the list above with an impressive victory.
Joe “Bodybagz” Pyfer (7-2) landed awkwardly on his elbow and dislocated it while fighting Dustin Stoltzfus on The Contender Series in August. I thought he was winning the round but as Stoltzfus went for the reversal, Joe braced himself as he was going to the ground and snapped his arm. Pyfer is a relentless worker and powerful human being. Once he fully heals, I expect his road to the UFC to be full speed ahead and would be surprised if he is not in the big show sometime in 2021. Pyfer is a former Art of War and Ring of Combat Champion with unlimited potential.
Pat Sabatini (12-3) is a freak athlete and very talented featherweight. The past couple of years he has a lot of bad luck with opponents pulling out at the last minute but he did just score a thrilling knockout in September at CFFC 84 to retain his belt. Sabatini is another very well rounded grappler and striker who should definitely get a date in the octagon in 2021.
Lightweight Joe Lowry is 9-1 and the reigning CFFC champion. Joe has continued to get better and better and is a grinder who people hate to fight. With 10 career bouts, he has more of a resume than many of the guys who have had chances on The Contender Series. Lowry should definitely get consideration for a UFC contract. If that doesn’t happen, he deserves a main event slot on the next The Contender Series. In the meantime, I’m sure he will continue to mow down foe after for on the regional scene.
Zed Montanez (4-0) is a highlight reel waiting to happen at 145 lbs. Montanez uses everything in his arsenal and brings beautiful violence to the cage. Elbows from every angle, kicks from both legs, and greased lightning for hands, Montanez is one of my favorite regional fighters to watch. His rise to the next level like many others, has been hampered by the COVID restrictions. A couple more fights and wins and we could see him on The Contender Series in 2021.
Criszaida Adames (2-0) – Yes I know strawweight Criszaida only has two fights but the women have been getting their chances with a little less experience than the men. I would absolutely love to see her on The Contender Series in 2021. Adames signed with Combate Americas and has brilliantly finished two women larger than her. I’ve been cageside for most of her amateur career and the stock on this young lady would sell out immediately. She has an iron will and can win a fight wherever it goes. She usually dictates that. There is just something about her that exudes greatness. It is just a matter of time and experience until she joins the women in the UFC.
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.