Israeli fighter secures his first victory in top-level UFC

An Israeli mixed martial artist secured his first win in the top-level Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday night, defeating his opponent with a unanimous judges’ decision in Las Vegas.

Natan Levy, 30, is the only Israeli competing in the UFC, the world’s premier fight promotion.

After the bout, Levy said he will auction off his equipment from the fight to raise funds for Holocaust survivors.

“What they went through was horrible,” he said at the press conference, noting Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday.

“Whatever we can do to support it or bring attention to it, there are many causes that are worthwhile, for me, this is the cause that I see right now,” Levy said.

“They are not going to be here forever to tell their story,” he said.

Levy was victorious in his lightweight bout against Mike Breeden with the judges scoring 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 in his favor over the three-round clash.

Last year Levy became only the third Israeli to sign on with the UFC.

He lost his debut fight in the UFC in November of 2021 by decision. His professional record is seven wins, one loss.

Born in Paris to a traditional Jewish family, Levy’s parents divorced when he was 4 years old. His mother asked him and his two brothers where they wanted to live, Paris or Herzliya, Israel, where they had previously lived for a period. The boys chose Israel. Levy was about 5 years old when he made the move.

He was bullied because of his accent and fought back, scuffling with other students. With time, Levy learned to funnel his aggression into martial arts. By age 13 he began weekly training and at 18 he traveled to Okinawa, Japan, to receive his black belt in karate.

Levy is proud of his nationality and displays the Israeli flag as he enters the ring for his bouts.

JTA contributed to this report.

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