Long before it was immortalized on the silver screen in the 1977 Academy Award winning film Rocky, the city of Philadelphia has been known as one of the premier fight cities in the United States and the World. But while the “City of Brotherly Love” has a rich boxing history, the city’s love affair with combat sports extends beyond the “Sweet Science.”
In 2009, a new combat sports tradition began with the legalization of Mixed Martial Arts in the State of Pennsylvania and on Feb. 27, 2010, the young sport’s evolution will continue with the first-ever event promoted by the brand new Matrix Fights promotion. Founded by local boxing luminary Jimmy Binns Jr. and world renowned Relson Gracie jiu jitsu black belts Phil and Rick Migliarese, Matrix Fights is already the most talked about fight promotion in the city of Philadelphia. This promotion has partnered with Real MMA Gear, Deliah’s Den, and Zee Bar to create an amazing event.
With a scheduled bell time of 8:00 p.m., Matrix Fights 1 will emanate from The Arena (formerly the ECW Arena) in South Philadelphia, which is just minutes away from many of the iconic shooting locations used to film Rocky. Headlining the fight card will be two of the top welterweight prospects on the East Coast in “Weapon X” Matt Makowski, 5-2, and LeVon “Da Maynman” Maynard, 9-5.
Makowski, 23, is a Temple University graduate who has spent his entire mixed martial arts career training out of the nationally recognized Daddis Fight Camps, which boasts training facilities in both Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, N.J.
Undefeated as an amateur, Makowski has competed for major national promotions such as EliteXC and the Bellator Fighting Championships. He holds notable TKO victories in his career over Renzo Gracie black belt Julio Cruz as well as UFC veteran Nick Serra. However, on Feb. 27 he will face the toughest test of his young career when he faces a fighter in Maynard with revenge on his mind.
While the fight between Makowski and Maynard will be the first-ever bout between the two under mixed martial arts rules, it will not be the first time the two have fought. The two fighters previously competed against each other several years ago as amateurs during the WKA Muay Thai Championships.
A resident of Virginia Beach, Maynard currently splits his time training and also working for the Air Force as a civilian technician. He has long campaigned for a rematch under MMA rules vs. Makowski following his loss to him under Muay Thai rules. Maynard will enter the bout red hot following a first round knockout victory last week over Mark Miller, a veteran of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series and the IFL.
Maynard turned pro in 2007 after compiling an impressive 6-1 amateur MMA record. After beginning his professional career with a 3-0 record, a panel of judges led by former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten selected Maynard as a finalist to join the now-defunct International Fight League. Unknown outside of Virginia at the time, Maynard’s impressive performance at the ’06 IFL tryout camp in New York — a camp that included UFC veterans Matt Brown and Danillo Villefort — made national headlines and was chronicled by CBSSports.com.
“When we initially came up with the date for our first Matrix Fights event we really wanted to come out of the gate with a strong main event. Stylistically, I don’t think you could ask for a better fight to kick things off for Matrix,” said Binns. “Both LeVon and Matt are very similar in their fighting styles in that they are both accomplished on the ground but their standup skills are what they are known best for. But if fans are looking for a bar room brawl, they aren’t going to get it. What they will get is an amazing display of technical striking between two top athletes. Punches, elbows, kicks, and knees — we’re going to see it all from Matt and LeVon.”
In addition to Makowski vs. Maynard, Matrix Fights 1 on Feb. 27 will boast a total 12 pro and amateur MMA bouts (card subject to change) featuring some of the top young talent on the East Coast. The co-feature will pit season seven veteran of The Ultimate Fighter Aaron Miesner of Philadelphia, PA taking on Francois Ambang of Cameroon, Africa. The Miesner vs. Ambang clash stands to be an explosive contest pitting a former Muay Thai champion in Miesner taking on a former African kickboxing champion in Ambang.
“Aaron is one of the top MMA prospects to come out of Philadelphia in recent years and is just a devastating Muay Thai striker,” said Migliarese. “But he is going to have his hands full against Ambang — who some believe is a K-1 level striker. As a jiu-jitsu black belt, I really have an affinity for ground fighting. But as an MMA fan, I also appreciate striking and I can tell you that this fight is not going to the ground unless it’s because someone got knocked out.”
Also set for action is United States Marine Julio Rosario, the head instructor of the Semper Fi MMA Academy in Rockledge, PA; the highly popular lightweight Will Martinez (fighting for the first-time ever in his home city of Philadelphia); along with the pro debut heralded 6-0 featherweight amateur Brylan Van Artsdalen.
Tickets for the event are priced at $100 for cageside seats; $75 for premium seats; and $45 for general admission and are now on sale at www.MatrixFights.com. For more information, including the entire fight card, please the promotion’s official website at www.MatrixFights.com.
Editor’s Note: Sam Caplan, the majority owner of FiveOuncesOfPain.com, is an employee of Matrix Fights, serving as its matchmaker.