One of UFC Fight Night 80’s featured bouts is between extremely hyped prospect “Super” Sage Northcutt and Cody “The Pfist” Pfister. Northcutt burst onto the UFC scene at UFC 192 in October with a 57 second knockout win. He will look to live up to many fans’ expectations as he faces the tough wrestler Pfister this week. Sage Northcutt (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC, -1250 favorite) The 19-year old is currently one of the most hyped prospects in mixed martial arts. Although the show was far from a reality show, “Super” was found on Dana White’s show called “Looking for a Fight”. The UFC boss went to see Northcutt’s fight versus Rocky Long in Texas. White was very impressed and awarded Northcutt a UFC contract almost instantly. The Katy, Texas native’s first five pro fights were fought under the Legacy FC umbrella, which has a great relationship with the UFC. Northcutt was given Francisco Trevino as his first UFC opponent and it was supposed to be his toughest test to date. However, that was hardly the case. Northcutt blew Trevino’s doors off in 57 seconds and has since become a hot commodity in the UFC. The amount of hype on Northcutt is unprecedented for a fighter of his age. The 19 year old has become a big star and hot commodity after only one UFC fight. The betting line of -1250 is by far the widest of the weekend, which shows you how many people are buying into his hype. With that said, Northcutt is an extremely skilled fighter and tremendous athlete. He started karate practically as a toddler and has won dozens of karate world championships. Northcutt is also an undefeated kickboxer, a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, and has a high school wrestling background. He is part of the new breed of fighters that are getting good at everything at a very young age. Northcutt is an explosive athlete with a great arsenal of powerful kicks from range. He utilizes front leg sidekicks, roundhouse kicks, and wheel kicks routinely. When his opponent closes the distance on him he is not shy about letting his hands ago, which also have considerable pop. While he is known mostly as a striker, Northcutt is actually a decent grappler as well, especially for a 19 year old. He hits explosive double-legs and slams routinely and has a knack for taking his opponent’s back. Obviously, everything he does on the ground is not perfect, but that is to be expected at such a young age. Great conditioning rounds out Northcutt’s game. It should also be said that the competition he has faced thus far has been extremely weak and he is being brought up slowly, which is the right thing to do in my opinion. Cody Pfister (12-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC, +800 underdog) The biggest underdog of the week will attempt to derail the Sage Northcutt hype train before it leaves the station. Pfister made his UFC debut in February and got absolutely starched by James Montasri. Pfister didn’t do much in that fight except shoot for desperation takedowns and Moontasri made him pay for it. Moontasri hurt him several times in the first round and ultimately finished him off with a choke in the second round. Pfister bounced back with a lackluster decision win over Yosdenis Cedeno at UFC 189 in July. The 25 year old Pfister is the typical meat and potatoes wrestler and grinder that tries to wear his opponents down over the course of three rounds. He offers very little at range, he still has a long ways to go in terms of his striking game. He mostly just throws a left hook to close the distance and get his opponent to back up to the fence, where he will attempt to take the fight to the mat. The thing is, his wrestling is not that great. He rarely hits takedowns in open space and often has to settle for holding his opponent against the cage because he cannot take them down. Once he does get his opponent down he does not have much to offer there either. He is not an efficient passer, does not possess a dangerous submission game, and lacks threatening ground and pound. For Pfister to win at the UFC level he is going to have to be in his opponent’s face the whole time by pressing them up against the cage and making them work for underhooks and taking the fight to the mat when he can. Honestly, I do not think Pfister is a UFC caliber fighter and will likely find himself out of the promotion soon enough. Thoughts: This is a fight for Northcutt to look good, plain and simple. Northcutt is the far superior athlete and striker, and he should be able to stuff Pfister’s takedown attempts and reverse position if Pfister puts him on the cage. I know Northcutt is young and unproven, but it is not hard for a trained eye to spot talent. Pfister does not do anything really well and I expect him to lose here, It is just a matter of how. The Prediction: Sage Northcutt defeats Cody Pfister by knockout (round 2)
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