Combat Sports

A1 Combat 8: Arciniega vs. Quinones

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More MMA action comes your way on Friday as a coast-to-coast night of combat sports concludes when Urijah Faber‘s A1 Combat returns for A1 Combat 8. It’s the second A1 Combat event thus far in 2023, with A1 Combat 9 already confirmed to be happening over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend on Saturday, March 18.

A1 Combat 8 is noteworthy for its host venue. Friday night’s event (10 pm ET/ 7 pm PT, UFC Fight Pass) will take place from Tachi Palace in Lemoore CA.

A1 Combat 8 First MMA Show at Tachi Palace Since Thwarted Attempt at UFC 249 Relocation

During the pandemic, UFC President Dana White attempted to relocate the original UFC 249 to Tachi Palace as an effort to skirt past athletic commission regulations in the wake of states banning combat sports after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Had the show been able to go ahead, it was to be held on April 18, 2020, five weeks after a scheduled UFC Fight Night in Brazil was held without paid spectators in attendance.

However, just two days after the announcement that UFC 249 would be taking place on tribal land and thus wouldn’t be subject to California State Athletic Commission safeguards against the virus, swift public backlash resulted in White being ordered to cancel the show. He’d gotten telephone calls from both ESPN and the Walt Disney Company advising him against holding UFC 249.

“Today, we got a call from the highest-level executive at Disney, and the highest level at ESPN… and the powers that be there asked me to stand down and not do this event on Saturday,” White said at the time.

White later promised that Tachi Palace would be shortlisted for a future UFC event, but as of 2023, this has yet to come to fruition. Nearly three years after the UFC was forced to call off an event at the venue amid the public health crisis, MMA finally takes center stage at Tachi Palace on Friday.

Lightweight Showcase in A1 Combat 8 on Friday

All told, barring any late postponements in the final hours before the card, A1 Combat 8 will feature nine bouts this weekend, including a contracted catchweight at 165 lbs. This A1 Combat 8 event matches Art Arciniega (16-7 MMA, A1 Combat promotional debut) with Sergio Quinones (14-24 MMA, A1 Combat promotional debut).

As with most A1 Combat fights, this event will be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

A1 Combat 8 Fighter Comparison

Heading into fight on Friday night, Sergio Quinones stands as the taller contestant at 5-foot-10, compared to Art Arciniega’s 5-foot-8 frame. Additionally, Arciniega owns a 68-inch reach, with no such information accessible for Sergio Quinones.

Ordinarily, at this point in the breakdown, we’d mention who’s favored according to the oddsmakers, but as of Wednesday afternoon, the betting odds had yet to be released. If you’re planning on betting on this or any other fight happening this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Art Arciniega Ends Nearly Five-Year Layoff at A1 Combat 8

Art Arciniega enters the headliner having gone 2-3 in his last five MMA appearances. Currently, he’s on a two-fight winning streak.

Most recently, he scored a split decision after three rounds against Ray Cervera (9-10 MMA) during Tachi PF 34 in March of 2018. He hasn’t even been so much as booked to fight since that night.

In the past, Arciniega has competed under the Bellator MMA banner from Feb. 13, 2015, to Jan. 29, 2016, going 0-2 in his two-fight span. He’s had a taste of major MMA before, but Arcinega is now 41 years of age and is in his career twilight.

How will the five-year layoff affect Art Arciniega at A1 Combat 8? Can he use a win here as a springboard in the last ride in his career?

Tune into A1 Combat 8 to find out.

Sergio Quinones Looks to Start a Winning Streak

In the other corner, Sergio Quinones has posted a 2-3 record himself over the last five fights. Most recently, he saw his three-fight losing streak end thanks to a first-round disqualification against Isiah Hill (5-9-1 MMA) for the Zhong Lou Cage Fighting Series Lightweight Championship last May.

This fight was halted after a minute and 55 seconds due to Hill landing an unintentional illegal knee on a downed Quinones, a forbidden strike in most MMA promotions throughout the world. Quinones attempted to walk it off and recover from the blow but stayed seated on the cage mat and the referee waved off the contest.

Although the circumstances surrounding the victory were far from ideal, Quinones’ skid stopped that night just the same. He’ll no doubt be the fresher fighter of the two at A1 Combat 8, but the 36-year-old heads into the bout 10 losses under the .500 mark for his career.

He’s already won a championship in one promotion and is slated to return to MMA in late March against Chris Cisneros (18-12 MMA) in Trinity Kings 12. Could a win here propel Sergio Quinones to a bid for an A1 Combat championship down the road?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the A1 Combat 8 fight looks to favor Sergio Quinones, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with Art Arciniega being a submission specialist. Arcinega has won eight fights by submission throughout his MMA career.

As has been said often around here, the first takedown of the fight could be the lone takedown.

Look For Arciniega to Excel on the Ground

One aspect of Art Arciniega’s fight game that’s shown itself on film is what happens when he finds himself on the mat, something that was well-illustrated in 2012 against Sergio Cortez. During the first round of a scheduled three, he took Cortez down inside the opening minute, with the latter showing no effort to try and defend the attack in hopes that the referee would force the fighters to stand back up.

A couple of minutes into the round, Arciniega established top mount and landed a flurry of ground and pound shots from his knees. With the lack of defense by Cortez, it became clear that the fight would be in Arciniega’s world.

As the first round wore on, Cortez became exhausted from Arciniega’s ground game, and despite Cortez bloodying and breaking his adversary’s nose, the latter was the dominant fighter in that period, en route to a victory after three rounds.

If Arciniega is able to wear Quinones down, this fight is going to be his for the taking.

Watch For Quinones’ Grappling

In the other corner, Sergio Quinones is no slouch on the ground, either. Prior to the disqualification win against Hill, Quinones took top mount upon taking Hill down. The former landed elbows on Hill, who was smart to defend against his efforts to posture up once the latter had secured three-quarter mount.

Had Hill not landed the illegal knee to commit the accidental foul, the odds would have been in Quinones’ favor to lock in a submission. If Quinones takes Arciniega down, it could be the opening he needs to try for the sub.

Final Thoughts

The only piece of advice remaining about the A1 Combat 8 fight is that we haven’t imparted to you yet is to not blink. If you blink and one of the fighters executes a takedown, you might miss everything.

One more piece of advice: Make your fridge run and/or pay the pizza guy before the fight starts.

Prediction: Sergio Quinones by Unanimous Decision.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.