The regional mixed martial arts action has picked up some steam after going through a rough stretch with the Covid-19 pandemic. Art of War Cage Fighting had been rolling along and putting on quality shows at several locations in Pennsylvania but after their 17th event on February 8, 2020 they were put on a long pause as were the hard-working, grinding, lesser known fighters who build the talent pool for places like the UFC. Let’s put all of that behind us and move into the current and relish that AOW and much of the regional events are back on path and ready to provide a venue for many. Right now there are more fighters prepared and ready to fight than there are opportunities. The regional scene has some catching up to do and Art of War Cage Fighting President, Mike Bickings plans to oblige. For the Saturday May 22nd AOW18 event, the state limited the fight card to a total of eight fights and limited seating capacity, but upcoming on July 31st, Art of War 19 will be back to full capacity both in the arena and on the fight card.
But first, let’s set you up with Art of War Cage Fighting 17 from The Sportsplex in Feasterville, PA. Headlining the card will be returning AOW middleweight champion Johnny Garbarino (5-1 3KOs) as he welcomes Rob The Young King” Sousa (3-0) into his den. “Garb” has a huge following and his fans will be in attendance making their presence felt. Garbarino seems to get better with each fight and takes on an undefeated Sousa who has finished two of his three opponents with submissions. In the co-main event, AOW Heavyweight champ defends against the more experienced, very tough, Gavin Nickel. This will be a slugfest.
In a monster heavyweight matchup which could have implications on the next opponent of the champion, Ian Allston welcomes Raiden Keller into town. Alston fought to an epic draw with current heavyweight champ, Patrick Brady in his last fight. Allston is 2-1-1 and Keller brings an unblemished 3-0 record with him from Team Bowerhouse in Frederick, MD. MyMMANews grabbed a few minutes with Raiden early in fight week. Asked about how he found his way to fighting, he says…
I was always a big guy and everybody wanted me to play football, so I played football but I didn’t like it very much even though I played for years. Then I found mixed martial arts and this was something that I loved to do.
Please check out our interview on the link above. Raiden has a long frame and some serious reach and isn’t afraid to throw those hands. I’m sure his coach Rob McCraw will have him in peak shape and ready to roll full steam ahead this weekend. This could be my pick for the fight of the night. I’ve been cage-side for both guys in the past and I am really excited for this one. You can get live results from cage-side at AOW 18 right here at MyMMANews.