Don’t look now, but the last weekend prior to the Thanksgiving holiday is one filled with championship fights across MMA. Between Bellator, A1 Combat, and APFC, as it stands right now, eight titles will be handed out by Sunday night.
Hard Rock Live in Wheatland, CA will play host to A1 Combat 15 on Saturday night. Barring any subsequent postponements between now and the weekend, the final version of the card features 11 total fights.
Four championship fights will take place at the top of the show, including the A1 Combat 15 co-main event. Immediately before the welterweight title is settled in the headliner, supremacy at 145 lbs. is up for the taking.
Battle of Unbeaten Fighters in A1 Combat 15 Co-Main Event Saturday Night in California
Two fighters with a combined undefeated record of 10-0 will enter the cage, but by the end of the fight, someone’s zero in the loss column will disappear into the California night. Incumbent featherweight champion Ernie Juarez (6-0 MMA, 3-0 A1 Combat) defends the strap against challenger Kody Vogels (4-0 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat.) They were supposed to have fought each other in May of 2022 before the fight was scrubbed ahead of the show for unknown reasons.
Both of these men have experience with A1 Combat’s direct predecessor, FirePower MMA, having won in the promotion before Urijah Faber became its promoter in the spring of 2022. Unlike the main event, the A1 Combat 15 co-main event is an advertised maximum of only three rounds at five minutes per round.
— Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat (@A1combat) October 28, 2023
A1 Combat 15 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison
Heading into the A1 Combat 15 co-main event this Saturday night, challenger Kody Vogels stands as the taller gladiator at 5-foot-10, compared to champion Ernie Juarez’ 5-foot-9 frame. No reach information was available at press time.
Ordinarily, at this point in the breakdown, we’d mention who has the edge on the money line as per the oddsmakers, but betting lines had not yet been released as of Tuesday night. As always, if you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Ernie Juarez Knocking on Major MMA’s Door?
Champion Ernie Juarez has yet to lose so far in his professional MMA career. Factoring in amateur contests, he’s gone 9-0 to start his life as an MMA fighter, with the lone hiccup on his combat sports record coming in a boxing match against Selassie Bey (6-0, 6 KOs) via third-round knockout in April of 2021 after having been away from the fight game for close to three years.
Most recently, he scored a unanimous decision win against Andrew Coyne (6-2 MMA, 2-1 A1 Combat) during A1 Combat 12 on UFC Fight Pass. With the UFC having its event take place right before A1 Combat 15 on Saturday night, one can only assume that UFC President Dana White will prop his feet up in an easy chair to watch this card after he’s done with his media obligations after UFC Fight Night.
Ernie Juarez is a prospect worthy of Dana White’s attention in the A1 Combat 15 co-main event. A win here would make seven consecutive professional wins and a successful defense of the strap.
Having an undefeated record on the regional circuit is no doubt a great boost to a fighter’s resume, but if Juarez adds a title defense to his name, he might be getting a telephone call from Uncle Dana as early as Sunday morning. Will Ernie Juarez be able to fight his way off of the regional circuit and onto a major promotion’s roster?
Kody Vogels Ready for a Challenge in A1 Combat 15 Co-Main Event
In the other corner, Kody Vogels has likewise yet to lose in his professional MMA career. Counting amateur bouts, he’s currently on a five-fight winning streak dating back to St. Patrick’s Day of 2018.
Vogels is known to be one tough customer when the cage door closes. In his last two fights, he’s only needed a combined one minute and two seconds to pick up wins, including a 47-second knockout of Chris Pena (3-4 MMA) on March 18.
He said in a recent interview that quick wins are the way to go.
“I’m not trying to go in there and win a boring fight,” Vogels began. “I’ve had some boring fights in the past, bro, but for the most part, bro, I’m trying to knock that person out or strangle them or break something, like, you know? I want to make it violent, so, just like this fight coming up, I’m looking to get a finish and not go all three rounds.
For the past two fights, a quick night at the office has been Vogels’ plan of attack. Can it hold true a third straight time?
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
We’ve got a bona fide slobber-knocker on our hands in the A1 Combat 15 co-main event. This could turn into a scrap very quickly.
Ernie Juarez Can Go Deep Into a Fight if Needed
Sometimes, getting the win by stoppage can take a while. Not every fight is going to end with a first-round knockout.
For Ernie Juarez, it sometimes means going into the third round, like he did against Diego Bigelow two years ago. Right after the command to fight in round three, Bigelow went on the offensive, landing crucial shots against Juarez. From there, both men bided their time until Juarez seized control with several flurries of ground and pound shots, including punches to the body, finishing the fight.
If Juarez finds himself in the third round of the A1 Combat 15 co-main event, look for him to try and turn it up with strikes.
Look for Vogels to End the Fight Quickly
In the other corner, Kody Vogels is known for his first-round knockouts. One need look no further than his most recent fight against Chris Pena from March.
A few seconds into the fight, Vogels uncorked a right hand to knock Pena down. Right away, he pounced on him with ground and pound, but Pena got back up.
It was to no avail for Pena, however, since Vogels just knocked him back down, this time with a left hand. Frank Trigg ended the fight right then and there.
If Kody Vogels lands one punch square, the A1 Combat 15 co-main event could be over right after the opening bell tolls.
Two undefeated fighters have at it for a championship. Does it get any better for a co-main event?
Its winner could be on the fast track to the UFC. Don’t forget to tune in.
Prediction: Kody Vogels by First-Round Knockout.