While the UFC‘s in action this Saturday, don’t forget that there’s a banner night of MMA on the regional circuit in California. UFC Hall of Fame inductee Urijah Faber puts on his promoter’s hat for A1 Combat‘s second “Night of Champions”.
Welterweight Championship Tops Slate of Four Title Fights
In total, A1 Combat 15 features 11 bouts, absent of any further postponed fights between now and Saturday. At the top of the slate is the battle at 170 lbs. in the A1 Combat 15 main event.
Current A1 Combat Welterweight Champion Jeff Creighton (8-2-1 MMA, 1-0-1 A1 Combat) defends his strap against challenger Joaquin Lopez (8-3 MMA, 0-1 A1 Combat). As per the agreed-upon terms, the A1 Combat 15 main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.
— Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat (@A1combat) October 28, 2023
A1 Combat 15 Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the A1 Combat 15 main event on Saturday night, Joaquin Lopez stands as the taller man at 6-foot-1, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Jeff Creighton. The latter owns a one-inch reach advantage (74 inches to 73 inches) over the former ahead of the headliner.
It’s All About Home Turf for Jeff Creighton
Jeff Creighton is unbeaten in his last five MMA appearances at 4-0-1. At present, he’s on a three-fight winning streak after picking up a draw on the scorecards in September of last year.
Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision win against Ozzie Alvarez (10-10 MMA, 2-2 A1 Combat) during A1 Combat 13 on Aug. 4. A few weeks after the fight, the champ was interviewed by his hometown newspaper, The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC. Creighton remembers that no matter where you travel, all roads will lead back home.
“It is important to me to represent where I came from,” Creighton began. In that same interview, the former soccer player pinpointed when he decided to become a scrapper in the aftermath of a stint on his high school wrestling team.
“So, when I turned 18, I decided that I was just going to go fight,” he recalled. “That is when things started to progress.”
It’s a move that’s paid off rather handsomely for Jeff Creighton. who took the strap after honing his skills in Bellator MMA for a fight in March.
Lopez Aiming to Build Off of Knockout Win
In the other corner, Joaquin Lopez has gone 3-2 over the course of his last five contests. Going into the A1 Combat 15 main event, he’s won two fights in succession.
Back in May, he stopped Justin Baesman (22-29-1) with a first-round knockout in the latter’s 52nd professional fight. Lopez has spent about as much time out of the cage as he has in it with 2023 drawing to a close.
The May 20 victory was Lopez’ one and only fight to happen this year. Scheduled fights against James Cannon (8-10 MMA) on Jan. 21 and Wayne Phillips (7-7 MMA) on April 15 were scrubbed ahead of the respective cards without a single punch thrown.
Having to see two fights fall by the wayside is never an ideal scenario.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
The A1 Combat main event looks to be another one of those toss-ups. Both men have been known to score the knockout, so this one could end before the final bell.
Can Jeff Creighton Get the Job Done Early?
Sometimes, knockout victories are hard to come by for a fighter. Counting amateur fights, Jeff Creighton has won just four fights by way of knockout, including his 2014 amateur debut vs. Nathaniel Dunn.
During the first round of the fight, Creighton immediately went to work with a variety of strikes and complimented them with a takedown of Dunn. From there, the fight was right in the champ’s wheelhouse thanks to a barrage of ground and pound shots until the referee waved it off.
Lopez Can Lock In a Submission
In the other corner, Joaquin Lopez has a great ground game. His fight last November against Daniel McWilliams is proof of this.
Round two saw McWilliams dump Lopez and take side control before grappling with him, yet Lopez reversed position and applied the torque to secure a D’arce choke. While McWilliams hung in the fight for as long as he could, the pressure from Lopez’ submission hold was too much for him to overcome, tapping out in just over three minutes.
Get your popcorn ready because the A1 Combat 15 main event looks to be a good one. Fight fans will not want to miss a second.
Prediction: Jeff Creighton by Unanimous Decision.
As usual, UFC Fight Pass will carry the card live. Coverage begins, however, on the promotion’s YouTube channel with the undercard at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT from Hard Rock Live in Wheatland, CA. Main card action follows on Fight Pass at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT.