While no one was looking, a scene developed in New York City.
It began with the Aggressive Combat Championship events in the Bronx, which built upon the foundation laid by its non-MMA shows. Then came the Fighters Source and Victory Combat Sports events, packing venues in Manhattan, and the Golden MMA Championships, bringing the sport to Corona, Queens. Each one had its own style, its own brand of panache and flavor unique to that particular cage, and in the span of nearly two years, something has grown in this pugilistic Petri dish – a living, breathing organism comprised of badass fighters and the reputations they’ve carved out for themselves.
Friday night saw the inaugural New York Fight Exchange, a WKA-sanctioned shindig, go down at the Amazura Concert Hall in Jamaica, Queens, and it was an event that broke new ground in a city whose once-barren soil is now rich and fertile. After all, we know that Ashley Greenway and Kat Morales are the cream of the Big Apple’s female fighter crop due to their respective VCS and ACC belts, and we know that Marcus Surin (VCS champ) and Gee “Lil’ Bomb” Jay (ACC champ) are kings among men, but how would the best and most promising of these respective organizations fare against each other? Thanks to the NYFE, and a few subtle strokes of matchmaking genius, a clear picture has emerged.
On paper, the main event pairing of undefeated Underground Combat League champ Jerome Mickle and Golden MMA Championships stud Aaron Sifflet for the NYFE welterweight crown promised both violence and answers to any questions of the legitimacy of the UCL star. And the reality – which was punctuated by a crushing KO just under two minutes into the first round – did not disappoint.
Who’s the baddest 170 pounder in New York City? Well, we know Mickle is one of them, and we owe the NYFE a debt of gratitude for that pearl of wisdom.
We also now know that Felipe Carlos is among the best of the featherweight division around these parts, as evidenced by his three-round battle against Golden MMA Championships star Uniah Banks.
Banks tested him, but Carlos came away from the contest with undeniable bragging rights over his place at the top spot in the 145-pound pecking order.
When it comes to the big boys, we’ve learned that Syrian expat Fady Medani and unflappable local Luis de Jesus are two forces to be reckoned with. For VCS vet Medani, Friday’s NYFE event provided him with another opportunity to showcase his hard-hitting style.
Medani needed 15 seconds to drop a tough Kevin Wall with a right hand.
Meanwhile, De Jesus – whose outing at a recent Golden MMA Championships saw him weathering a storm before rallying and taking control – displayed more of the same superhuman resilience at the NYFE show.
Will there be a meeting between Medani and De Jesus somewhere down the road? One can only hope.
Long Island native Joe Massaro came out with both guns blazing against Tyler Morrison, and it paid off nicely.
Massaro was all business, even when he posed with coaches Anthony D’Angelo and Ryan LaFlare (yes, the UFC fighter) afterwards.
It was a solid night of fights, and despite it being their first outing, this NYFE installment had none of the chaos usually attributed to fledgling MMA events. What’s in store for the future? If Friday’s show is of any indication, probably a lot of keen matchmaking. And when the dust settles on that one, we’ll know even more who are the best fighters in New York City.