A1 Combat 18 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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This last full weekend of February is a big one. If you don’t have your popcorn now, here’s some helpful advice from your friends at MMA Sucka: Get to the supermarket before Thursday night.

There’s so much action going on this weekend that it starts on Thursday. Your packed slate of competitive violence begins at Tachi Palace from Lemoore, CA. The venue, which garnered national headlines for being the host arena for the original version of UFC 249 before executives at both Disney and ESPN asked UFC CEO Dana White to cancel it in 2020 amid pandemic concerns plays host to A1 Combat 19.

Live coverage of Thursday’s show from Urijah Faber‘s promotion begins with the undercard at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT on YouTube, continuing at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on UFC Fight Pass with main card action. All told, barring any postponed fights between now and then, nine fights will take place.

Championship Doubleheader Begins With Lightweight Title Fight in A1 Combat 18 Co-Main Event

At the top of the bill is a championship doubleheader, kicking off with the A1 Combat 18 co-main event. Supremacy at 155 lbs. is at stake as the A1 Combat Lightweight Championship will be won. Undefeated Anthony Figueroa (4-0 MMA, 2-0 A1 Combat) will go for the title when he meets Christian Avalos (3-1 MMA, 2-0 A1 Combat).

As per the terms of the fight contract, this contest is an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round. Immediately following, action shifts to the 115-lb. division for a championship battle between Taylor Mauldin (4-0 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat) and Valesca Machado (12-4, 1 NC MMA, A1 Combat promotional debut) in the headliner.

More on that fight later on in the week.

A1 Combat 18 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the A1 Combat 18 co-main event on Thursday night, both of these men stand level at 5-foot-10. No reach information was accessible online at press time.

Figueroa Returns After Nearly 10 Months Away

Anthony Figueroa has yet to lose thus far in his professional MMA career. Counting amateur bouts, he’s on a five-fight winning streak dating back to June 23, 2018.

Last time out, he scored a unanimous decision victory against Lucas Martino (3-2 MMA, 0-1 A1 Combat) during the promotion’s first anniversary show on April 28 last year. After that, he was slated to return in September versus Sherrard Blackledge (5-1 MMA) during A1 Combat 14, but the fight was scrubbed prior to the show.

Subsequently, Figueroa was booked on the promotion’s Dec. 23 show. Just two days before Christmas, he had been scheduled to fight Alex Sanchez (14-3 MMA, 1-0  A1 Combat) for the lightweight championship in the original A1 Combat 16 main event of the evening.

That fight, too, was cancelled prior to the show. A fight for the interim lightweight championship in a restructured main event was also withdrawn prior to A1 Combat 16 during the holiday season.

It’s been almost 10 months since Anthony Figueroa last stepped in the cage. Having two scheduled fights in succession get postponed before their respective shows is never easy, but this is what he’s had to deal with over the course of the last year.

One question remains: Is Anthony Figueroa ready to try for the championship? For that matter, what kind of a training camp has he had over the past couple of months?

For the answers, tune into the A1 Combat 18 co-main event on Thursday night and find out.

Christian Avalos Looking to Ride Momentum of Two-Fight Winning Streak into A1 Combat 18 Co-Main Event

In the other corner, Christian Avalos has posted a mark of 4-1 in his last five fights dating back to his amateur days. At present, he’s on a two-fight winning streak, with both of those wins coming by way of submission in the first round of the fight.

Most recently, he stopped Andrew Kerfoot (2-1 MMA, 0-1 A1 Combat) on Aug. 4 last year during A1 Combat 13. Compared to Anthony Figueroa, Christian Avalos is undoubtedly the fresher fighter of these two men in the A1 Combat 18 co-main event, having fought over six months ago.

He’s still been out for an extended period of time, however, so how much ring rust is there for him? Only time will tell.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Thursday’sA1 Combat 18 co-main event is another one of those toss-ups. Both men are known to get the job done without having to involve the judges’ scorecards.

Figueroa Nasty with Knockouts

Anthony Figueroa has used his striking to win a fight in the past. One need look no further than his bout against Matt Reed.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Reed attempted a leg lock, but Figueroa fought out of it and landed some ground and pound shots. For as long as the fight lasted, Figueroa expertly utilized his ground game to stifle any effort that Reed tried to advance on the mat.

Later on in the round, Figueroa took back mount and scored with a flurry of unanswered strikes to the head. The ref had no other option but to stop the fight. If Figueroa can capitalize with punches in bunches, this title is his in the A1 Combat 18 co-main event.

Avalos Can Finish the Show Quickly

In the other corner, don’t discount Christian Avalos’ ability to finish the fight, He can complete his job in a hurry. While there are a number of examples of fast finishes in Avalos’ career, all you have to do is watch his amateur tilt vs. Robert Davis from 2018.

Round one saw Avalos and Davis stalk each other with the men trading strikes. Upon an apparent illegal blow in the clinch, action was paused by the referee.

Upon a restart, Avalos went in for the kill and took Davis down. A relentless burst of ground and pound strikes ended the bout. As long as Avalos can take Figueroa down, he may be on easy street.

Final Thoughts

This co-main event could bring a lot of fireworks on Thursday night. Don’t miss it.

Prediction: Anthony Figueroa by Third-Round TKO. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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