NEWARK, N.J. — Many expected to see 19-year-old phenom Sage Northcutt flipping in the Octagon after his matchup with short-notice replacement Bryan Barberena at UFC on Fox 18 on Saturday night.
Instead, it was Barberena flipping, well, somersaulting, on the canvas after submitting Northcutt via arm triangle choke at 3:06 of the second round of their welterweight bout at the Prudential Center.
It’s the first career loss for Northcutt (7-1), who has been heavily promoted since making his UFC debut last October.
“I’m just disappointed,” Northcutt said. “That’s all I can say.”
After a few short exchanges, Northcutt landed a right hand that threw Barberena off-balance enough for Northcutt to jump. After a quick battle on the fence, Northcutt threw Barberena to the ground and attempted to take his opponent’s back but couldn’t secure the position.
Northcutt was able to open a cut on his opponent’s forehead and continued to pressure, but he took a few strong shots himself before going for another takedown. With less than a minute in the round, it was Barberena (11-3) who took Northcutt down for a few seconds.
In the second round, Northcutt attempted a spinning kick after missing on a punch and immediately was pounced on. Barberena was able to secure position in Northcutt’s guard, landing short punches and elbows. He transitioned to side control and continued delivering damage. After a few minutes moving between half-guard and side-control, Barberena went for an arm triangle from half-guard. It didn’t appear completely secured from the awkward position, but it was on tight enough to make Northcutt tap.
“It feels great to beat a guy with that hype, but I have my own hype behind me,” Barberena said. “My family, friends and teammates all believed and knew I could do it. This is something I practice in the training room. I felt like he was slipping in tighter and I knew he was going to tap. I want to thank my camp, The MMA Lab. We came, we dominated!”