Kicking off the main card at UFC Fight Night 126 was a lightweight showdown between Super Sage Northcutt and French submission specialist, Thibault Gouti.
Northcutt (9-2 coming into this one) joined Team Alpha Male prior to his last performance, a unanimous decision victory over Michel Quinones in November.
It was clear for all to see that he had made incredible improvements to his game and in classic Sage-style, he credited it to the Sacremento-based fight team.
Northcutt has stated in the past that he wants to become the youngest champion in UFC history. To do so, he will have to break Jon Jones’ record, who at just 23 years of age, won the UFC light-heavyweight belt.
21-year-old Northcutt still has just under two years to turn that dream into a reality, and although Team Alpha Male founder Uriah Faber wishes Sage would say it more often, he said he thinks that the 155-pound title is a realistic goal.
“I’m encouraging him; he’s too nice to say he wants to go get the strap,” Faber said. “But that’s in his mind. At what point does someone just decide they want to be a champion? I think he’s probably had that for a long time, but I’m encouraging him to voice that because I think he can be a world champion, and I think we’re on a path to do that. It’s awesome to see him progress, and I think he’s going to be a world champ.”
His opponent, the dogged Frenchman Thibault Gouti (11-3 before this one), came into this one having knocked out Andrew Holbrook at UFC Fight Night 115 in September of last year.
After going 11-0 before his call-up to the UFC, Gouti lost his first three fights in the promotion so he knew that his last outing was a do-or-die affair.
He got the victory on that occasion but with his UFC record sitting at 1-3, a win here would have him back on track while another loss would spell disaster.
The first round was full of action, with both men having their moments. Sage landed a takedown and spent most of the round in top position. Gouti was able to rock Sage with a number of solid punches, but nothing which overly worried him.
Gouti dominated the second round, landing an early takedown which he held for the entire round.
Gouti landed several takedowns in the third round, however Northcutt landed several big strikes in the latter moments of the round, including a nasty standing elbow.
Northcutt won the fight via split decision 29-28.
Some of the best shots here:
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 19, 2018