A1 Combat 20 Main Event Breakdown

Image for A1 Combat 20 Main Event Breakdown

After being out of action for the entire month of April, California-based A1 Combat returns to action for two consecutive weekends in the month of May. The first card of that stretch is the second half of a day-night doubleheader of MMA on Friday.

A1 Combat 20 comes on the heels of promotional alum Payton Talbott (8-0 MMA, 3-0 A1 Combat) getting booked to appear on UFC 303 on June 29 versus Yanis Ghemmouri (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

Just a few hours after Bellator holds Bellator Champions Series 2 in Paris, the action shifts to Wheatland, CA for A1 Combat 20 from Hard Rock Live. Action begins at 8 pm ET/ 5 pm PT with the amateur undercard on the promotion’s official YouTube channel.

Main card action from the professional ranks follows at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on YouTube. All told, barring any late adjustments to the card, the final version of A1 Combat 20 features a stacked slate of 15 fights.

Welterweight Championship Up For Grabs in A1 Combat 20 Main Event Friday Night

Capping the night’s itinerary is the contest for the newly-vacant A1 Combat Welterweight Championship in the A1 Combat 20 main event. Undefeated Sinjen Smith (5-0 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat), an alumnus of Bellator MMA, meets 10-fight veteran (and most recently the LXF Welterweight Champion) Mirali Huseynov (7-3 MMA, A1 Combat promotional debut.)

Its winner succeeds Jeff Creighton (10-2-1 MMA, 2-0 A1 Combat) as the 170-lb. titleholder. Creighton has since joined the LFA‘s active roster, winning his promotional debut on March 8 during LFA 178 vs. Miguel Jacob (8-3 MMA, 1-3 LFA) by unanimous decision.

In accordance with the current California State Athletic Commission policy for championship fights from regionally-based promotions, the A1 Combat 20 main event will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show and the day-night doubleheader.

As of January of 2024, CSAC mandated that all fights in regionally-based MMA promotions are to be three rounds in length. No exception was made for championship fights.

A1 Combat 20 Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the A1 Combat 20 main event on Friday night, Sinjen Smith stands as the taller contender at six feet even, compared to the 5-foot-10 frame of Mirali Huseynov. Smith owns a 72-inch reach, with no such information accessible for Huseynov at press time.

Currently, the oddsmakers have Sinjen Smith installed as a -400 favorite on the money line, while Mirali Huseynov counters as a +275 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Can Sinjen Smith Remain Unbeaten in A1 Combat 20 Main Event?

Sinjen Smith enters the A1 Combat 20 main event on Friday having yet to lose in his professional career. Dating back to his time as an amateur fighter, he’s gone 9-0.

Back in January, he scored a third-round knockout of Tyson Miller (4-2 MMA, 0-2 A1 Combat), himself an alumnus of Bellator MMA, during A1 Combat 17 on the campus of Sacramento State University. More impressively, the win was Smith’s first fight in six years, two months, and 15 days.

Recently, Smith talked to Michael Hernandez about his upcoming title bid.

“They offered me multiple opponents,” Smith said. “I said yes to every single opponent they offered me. Finally, Mirali answered the call. I think he’s a tough dude. He’s up-and-coming, it seems like. It’s going to be a good fight. I’m a very well-rounded MMA fighter. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’m prepared for anything. We at the Reno Academy of Combat are prepared for any type of fight.”

Sinjen Smith is a man who hadn’t fought in over six years prior to appearing on A1 Combat 17 this past winter. His opponent had to turn down another card this weekend to accept his spot in the A1 Combat 20 main event.

Mirali Huseynov Looks to Build Off of February Knockout Win in A1 Combat 20 Main Event

In the other corner, Mirali Huseynov has posted a record of 4-1 over his last five fights. Three months ago, he returned to the win column with a first-round knockout victory against Tommy Aaron (12-8 MMA) during Shawne Merriman’s LXF 14 on Fubo Sports Network for the LXF Welterweight Championship in the main event of the evening.

He needed only a minute to finish Aaron that night back in February. Huseynov’s highlight-reel stoppage caught the attention of two-well known names in the sport of MMA, former Strikeforce and UFC fighter Gilbert Melendez and onetime Strikeforce and Bellator CEO Scott Coker, the promoter and executive producer, respectively of the new Fight Night at the Tech promotion, whose first card will take place this Saturday night in San Jose.

Prior to accepting the A1 Combat 20 main event on Friday, Huseynov’s name was attached to a fight against Mattia Loi-Fonda (3-2 MMA). Three months after putting on a great display in LXF, can he pull in a similar or the same performance to win his second welterweight title in as many promotions in the A1 Combat 20 main event?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

The A1 Combat 20 main event is another one of those strength vs. strength matchups. Who will win the day?

Watch Sinjen Smith’s Footwork

If you were to watch Sinjen Smith’s last fight against Tyson Miller from January without the knowledge that he had a lengthy hiatus between appearances, you’d never have known it, since his footwork was incredibly sharp that winter’s night, especially in the last round.

As they say in football, “Speed kills.” Smith kept Miller honest with his quickness on the feet during that period, eventually wearing him down with vicious combinations, leaving Miller no choice but to crumple up like a piece of paper against the cage fence.

If Sinjen Smith’s footwork is up to par in the A1 Combat 20 main event on Friday night, Mirali Huseynov could have a difficult three rounds (or less) inside the cage.

Mirali Huseynov Can Finish the Job in a Hurry

In the other corner, Mirali Huseynov doesn’t like to wait around to complete his assignments. Just look at the tape of his Feb. 17 fight vs. Aaron in LXF.

For as long as the fight lasted that night, Huseynov repeatedly landed crisp punches, including one that landed right on the button about one minute into the opening round. Mirali Huseynov has one-punch power.

He’ll need to show it again on Friday night.

Final Thoughts

Although this championship fight is only three rounds in length, expect the A1 Combat 20 main event to be as explosive as a five-round affair.

Prediction: Mirali Huseynov by First-Round TKO. 

Share this article

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.