Combat Sports

A1 Combat Puts on Impressive Debut, Despite Main Event Postponement

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Whenever the opportunity presents itself, everyone should strive to do their collective best to make a good first impression, but sometimes, as was the case in the original A1 Combat 1 main event, things don’t always go as scripted. The maiden voyage of 2017 UFC Hall of Fame inductee Urijah Faber‘s new MMA promotion seemed to do well despite the circumstances, though.

Inaugural A1 Combat Flyweight Championship Between Duffy, Tafoya PPD

Initially, the A1 Combat 1 main event for Sunday evening’s inaugural card from the promotion on UFC Fight Pass had Jesse Tafoya (4-4 MMA) meeting undefeated Jack Duffy (5-0 MMA). It would have been a five-round fight at five minutes per round to decide the promotion’s initial champion at 125 lbs. to close its maiden voyage.

This was the plan earlier on in the week leading up to the card and was even the plan for the A1 Combat 1 main event heading into this weekend, but on Sunday, as the main card telecast began on Fight Pass, Uriah Faber broke the news that nobody wanted to hear in an interview with Rocsi Diaz.

There would be no championship fight at 125 lbs. on the evening as one ugly truth about combat sports reared its ugly head once again.

Backstage Brawl Prompts Postponement

Although Duffy and Tafoya were slated to have fought in the original A1 Combat 1 main event on Sunday evening, the two engaged in extracurricular activities during the pre-fight weigh-in on Saturday afternoon, getting into a backstage brawl, causing the advertised main event to be postponed.

Faber had mentioned that one of the fighters sustained a cut above his eye during the melee at the Saturday weigh-in. The rest of the card, however, lived up to the former UFC bantamweight and featherweight contender’s expectations.

“It was awesome, man, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for more,” Faber said in his post-fight remarks. “We had a bad issue with not getting our main event for the belt. We want to see those belts coming out and they’re coming, guys.”

The A1 Combat 1 main event on Sunday night was just the beginning of the promotion’s life on UFC Fight Pass, as five more events are slated to be streamed live on the subscription-based platform before 2022 concludes, including two cards before the end of this month.

A1 Combat will take advantage of the extended Memorial Day weekend as A1 Combat 2 and A1 Combat 3 will be streamed over Fight Pass on May 28 and 29, respectively, and unlike the A1 Combat 1 main event on Sunday evening, championships will be at stake, as the promotion’s inaugural bantamweight and middleweight championship fights are currently slated to headline the May 28 card.

Easy Night For The Judges in A1 Combat 1

Despite the postponement of the original A1 Combat 1 main event, the night was an easy one for the judges, as none of the fights on the telecast required the use of the scorecards.

Out of the seven fights that aired on Fight Pass early Sunday evening, five of them ended by knockout, with the new A1 Combat 1 main event being the longest fight in terms of length, with a former UFC fighter taking the victory.

Teruto Ishihara Shines in New A1 Combat 1 Main Event

It took Teruto Ishihara (11-9-3 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat) until the second round of the new A1 Combat 1 main event on Sunday evening against Jose Hernandez, but he connected on a right-handed counter punch to knock his opponent down, peppering him with shots to the head before referee Herb Dean waved off the fight.

This victory in Sunday’s main event was noteworthy for the Ishihara camp, as it was his first victory in his last six MMA appearances dating back to UFC 221 in 2018, as he exits A1 Combat 1 on a two-fight unbeaten streak.

Prior to Sunday night’s headlining bout, Ishihara eked out a draw against Vinicius Zani in October of last year during FURY FC 52.

Shorter Cage Length Yields to Higher Stoppage Rate

The 100 percent stoppage rate in A1 Combat 1 on Sunday evening can be attributed to the length of the cage in the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Wheatland, CA, where the event was held.

As was mentioned during the broadcast, the length of the cage for A1 Combat 1 was just 22 feet across, smaller than both the 30-foot cage used in traditional UFC shows and the 25-foot cage used in events held at the UFC Apex facility at Las Vegas. A1 Combat’s permanent 26-foot cage is being constructed in Kentucky and will make its debut later this year.

Whether or not the stoppage rate will be adversely affected once the length of the cage moves to 26 feet across as opposed to 22 feet across, as it was for A1 Combat 1 on Sunday evening, remains to be seen. One final question still remains in the aftermath of the inaugural A1 Combat event late Sunday.

Was A1 Combat 1 A Success?

In spite of the fracas which yielded to the postponement of the original A1 Combat 1 main event on Sunday evening, yes, this card was a success.

Losing the originally-advertised main event under any circumstance is a blow, regardless of the promotion, but in this case, it was a veteran moment for Urijah Faber, who followed the protocol by the book here.

Although it was Faber’s initial card as a promoter, one would have never surmised that was the case with how he handled the situation presented to him. He took a lousy situation and was able to turn it around, not letting the brawl at the weigh-ins mar the whole evening.

Brisk Pacing Makes For a Short Night

With all seven of the fights on the aired portion A1 Combat 1 ending by stoppage on Sunday, it made for a quick evening of fights on UFC Fight Pass.

All told, the live broadcast of A1 Combat 1 ran about two and a half hours, and for a card airing on a Sunday evening, when many viewers have to go to bed for work or school the next morning and thus can’t stay up too late, that’s a brisk, orderly pace.

Final Thoughts

In summation, A1 Combat 1 might have had a late alteration to its main event, but the promotion did very well for its first effort. We have come to expect the best from Faber as a fighter, and there’s no reason his promotion skills are any different.

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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