Fans of fighting in the New York/New Jersey area have plenty of things on that list, especially since there have been a ton of decent scraps in 2014. Here, then, is a list of five fights I'm thankful I got to see in person.
- Rich Pabon vs. Takahiro Ishikawa, Victory V on April 25 - This one was supposed to be an undercard bout that would've served as an appetizer for the entrees later on in the night, but it ended up stealing the show. Pabon and Ishikawa had an absolute war - and it was awesome.
- Anthony Pipola vs. Roman Chyzhyk, NYFE 3 on June 7 - There's a kind of perverse beauty to watching a steamroller squash an unwitting human, and that beauty was on display when Pipola utterly crushed Chyzhyk.
- Ozzie Perez vs. Johnny Castillo, Aggressive Combat Championship on February 22 - Perez is to jiu-jitsu technique what Santa Claus is to giving coal to brats, which is to say, he's very good, and as a general rule, his opponents are screwed.
- Jonathan Velez vs. Brad Bateman, Underground Combat League on February 23 - Believe it or not, there are gyms you've never heard of in crappy parts of town churning out killers, gyms with chain-link fences set up to emulate cages, and classes for underprivileged youth mixed in with sparring sessions full of skill and bloodshed. Velez comes from one such place. He's a killer.
- Andy Main vs. Brian Kelleher, Cage Fury Fighting Championship on April 19 - Andy Main is awesome. That is all.