UFC Sacramento: The Upstarts Take Center Stage

BY Fansided and Gabriel Gonzalez/FanSided via Cage Pages • December 16, 2016

In a battle of young upstarts, Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall will compete on FOX to see who is poised to become the newest star of the UFC.

UFC Sacramento this Saturday may feature the final fight of an MMA pioneer, but it’s clear that the card is built around the young stars of the UFC.

While Paige VanZant will face Michelle Waterson in the main event, it’s the bout between “Super” Sage Northcutt and Mickey Gall that was the most intriguing when announced.  The fight came together after Gall defeated former pro-wrestling sensation CM Punk and called out Northcutt in his post-fight interview.

The entire pre-fight talk between the two has been unusual, to say the least.  Gall’s statements have included calling Northcutt “corny” and threatening to “knock the spikes out of his hair.” Northcutt in response told Gall to try out a different hairstyle.  Most recently, Gall wagered that the loser of their fight should shave their head.

    Such is the trash talk between two fighters who are both under 25.  But their ability to own the mic is not what has fans intrigued about the bout.  The two have been touted as future prospects and their contrast in personalities has many believing the two will collide in an exciting contest.  When the cage door closes, one of the two men will take the bragging rights — at least temporarily — of being “the next big thing.”

    Already in their young careers, they both have a claim to that.  Northcutt is 8-1 as a professional, having gone 3-1 in his four fights in the UFC.  Of course, he remains best known for having gotten the attention of Dana White on Lookin’ for a Fight for looking like “an Abercrombie and Fitch model.”  Since entering the Octagon, he has received an immense marketing push from the promotion.  Most recently, he drew ire from his peers for being the highest paid fighter on the UFC 200 prelims that included former champions TJ Dillashaw and Johnny Hendricks.

    Want your voice heard? Join the Cage Pages team!

    Gall entered the UFC through Lookin’ for a Fight as well but took a more direct approach to entering the mainstream MMA consciousness.  Gall called out former pro-wrestler CM Punk before the latter had his first fight.  Gall, then only 1-0 as a professional, was able to book the fight due to their inexperience on paper.  When the bout finally came to fruition, Gall dominated Punk on the main card of a pay-per-view event.

    More from Cage Pages

      On paper, the match has several variables that are hard to measure.  Nine fights into his career, Northcutt on paper has more experience than the 3-0 Gall.  However, Northcutt has fought most of his career at lightweight.  The bout on Saturday is at Gall’s preferred weight class of 170.  Northcutt’s last foray to welterweight was his only professional loss to Bryan Barberena.  It is assumed that “Super” Sage will be faster and more explosive on the feet as he’s displayed in his recent fights.  On the ground, Gall is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and many believe he will be able to exploit Northcutt’s weaknesses on the ground.  It should be noted, the loss to Barberena came in a bout where Northcutt had trouble getting back to his feet and was finished by an arm-triangle.

      It is assumed that “Super” Sage will be faster and more explosive on the feet as he’s displayed in his recent fights.  On the ground, Gall is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and many believe he will be able to exploit Northcutt’s weaknesses on the ground.  It should be noted, the loss to Barberena came in a bout where Northcutt had trouble getting back to his feet and was finished by an arm-triangle from half guard.

      A loss for either fighter would set them back immensely in 2017.  For Gall, if he loses in a fight that is uncompetitive then his victory over Punk will be viewed through the prism of his age advantage over the former wrestler.  For Northcutt, a second loss in 2016 will have many wondering if the immense promise he has shown is more a product of hype than actual skills.

      All of these storylines are coming together under the bright lights of a nationally televised fight on FOX.  Fans are ready to see which young fighter is going to make the move to the next level, and the winner of Saturday’s bout is going to be the one that takes the huge step forward.



      share story