The UFC has announced one of its young stars is no longer with the promotion, and a fight we all thought was off is now on again. I’ll give my thoughts on those pieces of news in today’s MMA odds and ends.
UFC Releases Sage Northcutt, ONE Championship Could Be Next
UFC president Dana White revealed Tuesday on the UFC Unfiltered Podcast that the world’s top MMA promotion has granted young star Sage Northcutt is unconditional release. Northcutt is now a free agent and free to sign with any promotion, though it’s heavily rumored that ONE Championship is going to announce his signing very shortly (possibly this week). Northcutt (11-2) is 6-2 in the UFC and will end his run in the Octagon on a three-fight win streak that includes a KO victory over Zak Ottow in his last bout. But while his striking has always been dangerous, his ground game still needs a lot of work. It’s very likely ONE is going to pay Northcutt in the guaranteed six-figure range and the UFC deemed that to be too rich for what he brings to the table and decided to let him go. Having said that, Northcutt is still a very young fighter and has a long career ahead of himself, which is why White said Northcutt could return to the UFC down the road. For now, though, he’ll take his talents elsewhere, and let’s see if he can become a more well-rounded fighter now that he doesn’t have the pressure of fighting in the UFC.
Rachael Ostovich vs. Paige VanZant Back On For UFC on ESPN+ 1
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto surprised the MMA world when he revealed that the women’s strawweight bout between Rachael Ostovich and Paige VanZant is back on for UFC on ESPN+1, which takes place January 19 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Ostovich was recently involved in a domestic violence incident where it was reported she allegedly suffered a broken orbital bone at the hands of her husband, pro MMA fighter Andre Berdon. It appears that reports of the severity of her injuries were overblown as she will now fight in about six weeks. Of course, what happened between Ostovich and her husband is now in the court’s hands, and hopefully justice is served pending the results of the legal investigation. For now, though, Ostovich will be fighting again against VanZant in what is a pretty important fight in the women’s flyweight division. Both Ostovich and VanZant are two very popular fighters due to their looks and fighting ability and a win on the UFC’s first ESPN card would be huge for both of them. It’s great news that Ostovich is healthy and ready to return so soon, though the incident with her husband will no doubt have an effect on her psyche heading into this fight. Ostovich (4-4) is 1-1 in the UFC while VanZant (7-4) is 4-3. Both women lost their last respective fights so a win here would be huge. Just based on experience and quality of past victories you’d have to favor PVZ slightly here.