The second act of a championship tripleheader in MMA on Friday night comes your way from Wheatland, CA’s Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Sacramento, where 2017 UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber‘s A1 Combat opens up its 2023 schedule with A1 Combat 7. Live coverage of the card begins at 10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT on UFC Fight Pass.
Friday’s show is billed as A1 Combat 7: Night of Champions; named because the eight-fight card (barring any further late postponements) features three fights for vacant titles at the top of the event. When originally revealed, A1 Combat 7 was scheduled to take place on Jan. 14.
The UFC’s itinerary for the first three months of 2023 was officially announced last month, including UFC Vegas 67, now headlined by No. 7 contender Sean Strickland (25-5 MMA, 12-5 UFC) against No. 12 contender Nassourdine Imavov (12-3, 4-1 UFC) in the new main event, A1 Combat elected to move up its show by 24 hours to not have the two events overlap.
Vacant Middleweight Gold At Stake in A1 Combat 7 Friday
The Vacant A1 Combat Middleweight Championship is up for grabs this weekend. Undefeated Ryan Loder (4-0 MMA, 1-0 A1 Combat) will get a “home game” on Friday when the Californian takes on New York product Troy Green (5-1 MMA, A1 Combat promotional debut) in a true battle of east versus west.
As with all A1 Combat championship fights, Friday’s fight for supremacy at 185 lbs. will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round. The winner of this bout will become the second A1 Combat Middleweight Champion since the promotion rebranded from FirePower MMA last year.
Now-former middleweight titleholder Buddy Wallace (18-9-1 MMA, 2-0 A1 Combat), who defended the A1 Combat Middleweight Championship on July 31 during A1 Combat 4’s main event, recently surrendered the championship to compete in the UFC, the promotion announced on Instagram in November. No word on when Wallace is slated to make his UFC debut.
A1 Combat Middleweight Championship Fighter Comparison
Heading into the middleweight title fight this Friday, both Ryan Loder and Troy Green stand level in height at six feet even. No reach advantage information was accessible online at press time.
In addition, the betting odds for A1 Combat 7 were not yet made available at press time. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.
Ryan Loder Goes For Six in a Row on Friday
Ryan Loder enters A1 Combat 7 on Friday night having yet to lose thus far in his professional career. Dating back to amateur MMA, he’s won five consecutive fights.
Back on July 31 in the aforementioned A1 Combat 4, Loder scored a first-round knockout with elbows versus Sean Sullivan (1-1 MMA, 0-1 A1 Combat) just a minute and 41 seconds into the period. The victory was one of MMA News’ Top 10 Finishes of the Week ending Aug. 6.
In the fall of 2021, mixedmartialarts.com’s Kirik Jenness opined whether or not Loder was poised to become MMA’s next household name right after he defeated James Porter (1-1 MMA) in his professional debut.
“There have now been loud whispers about middleweight Ryan Loder,” Jenness wrote at the time. “A former NCAA D-I All-American wrestler, who trains out of Team Alpha Male in California. Loder had his lone amateur fight at Mountain Force MMA in May. Loder won quickly against unheralded prospect Shane O’Rourke.”
A little more than a year later, those loud whispers have turned into legitimate talk that MMA might just have its future within grasp. If Ryan Loder becomes a champion in his fifth professional fight and sixth fight all told, he could very well be on the fast track to a UFC deal.
Troy Green Looks to Shake Off Ring Rust
In the other corner, Troy Green has posted a record of 4-1 in his last five fights. Last time out, he bested Albert McCowin (5-3 MMA) during Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat 77 in Atlantic City on Sept. 9 for that promotion’s middleweight championship. Friday’s fight marks his second appearance at middleweight, having previously competed in the Ring of Combat welterweight division.
However, one constant has plagued him of late, ring rust. What follows is Troy Green’s latest fights since November of 2019 with dates:
- Nov. 23, 2019: Win (first-round knockout) against Lenny Rufati in rematch during Ring of Combat 70.
- Feb. 20, 2020: Win (unanimous decision) against John Ramirez during Ring of Combat 71.
- March 12, 2021: Loss (unanimous decision) against Yohan Lainesse during CFFC 93.
- Sept. 9, 2022: Win (unanimous decision) against Albert McCowin during Ring of Combat 77.
An average of one fight per calendar isn’t good news for a fighter’s professional development, yet this stretch was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ring rust was certainly a talking point for the Green camp heading into A1 Combat 7.
Will it play a factor in Friday’s fight? Tune in and find out.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the A1 Combat Middleweight Championship looks to favor Ryan Loder, a former collegiate wrestler, compared to Troy Green’s kickboxing background.
Ryan Loder Has Nasty Elbows
Ryan Loder has been known to end a fight rather abruptly. His elbows got the job done last summer against Sean Sullivan. In the first round of a scheduled three, Sullivan caught Loder’s body shot to try and take him down, yet Loder took top position.
This was the opening he needed to grip Loder’s hand and transition into heavy elbow shots, leading to a severe cut. Referee Frank Trigg saw enough to wave off the fight in just over a minute and a half.
If he’s able to, look for Ryan Loder to try and score with vicious elbow shots on Friday in A1 Combat 7. It may be enough to win him a championship.
Troy Green Can End The Fight With One Punch
In the other corner, Troy Green has one-punch power. One needs to look no further than his rematch vs. Lenny Rufati in November of 2019.
Green came out like a house on fire in the fight’s opening moments. Just 20 seconds into the opening round, he connected on a vicious right-handed punch to knock Rufati down. Although Rufati got back up, Green landed an uppercut to knock him out in less than 30 seconds.
All it will take Troy Green to win the championship is just a single shot.
Nothing more needs to be said about the A1 Combat Middleweight Championship except don’t blink. If you do, you might miss everything.
Prediction: Ryan Loder by First-Round TKO.
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