Bryan Barberena may have been a late-notice replacement but he made the most of his opportunity by handing highly touted prospect Sage Northcutt his first loss with a second-round submission at UFC Fight Night in New Jersey.
Barberena was originally scheduled to fight in Pittsburgh in just three weeks time, but he accepted the fight with Northcutt when his opponent suffered an injury in training.
Barberena showed no fear in the face of a lot of hype surrounding Northcutt while dismantling him on the ground and wrapping up a huge win in the opening bout on FOX.
Northcutt looked comfortable on his feet as soon as the fight started while connecting with a hard right hand that mashed Barberena in the face before forcing him against the cage and looking for a takedown.
The pressure game was all Northcutt throughout the first round while he kept pushing the pace but Barberena didn’t back down and as time ticked down the late-notice replacement started swinging wild and actually clipped the 19-year-old prodigy with a couple of hard shots.
As the second round got underway, Northcutt missed a punch before throwing a cartwheel kick that missed, and it landed him on the mat with Barberena on top of him.
Barberena jumped down into Northcutt’s guard and started blasting away with short elbows and punches, bloodying the teenager over his right eye.
Barberena kept looking to advance position, and he eventually slipped into half guard while fishing for an arm triangle choke from the top.
It didn’t appear that Barberena had the best position for the submission but Northcutt quickly tapped as the highly hyped prospect tasted defeat for the first time in his career while falling to an opponent who stepped up to take this fight just over one week ago.
"It feels great but I’ve got my own hype behind me," Barberena shouted after handing Northcutt his first professional loss. "We came, we dominated, we all knew!"
Barberena picks up a huge victory over one of the most talked about fighters on the UFC roster while moving his record to 2-1 overall inside the Octagon.
At just 19, Northcutt still has a long career ahead of him and while the loss is disappointing, it will definitely give the young Texas native a chance to grow and get better before returning to fight again this year.