22-year old prospect Sage Northcutt returned to the welterweight division on Saturday in the UFC Fight Night 133 co-main event against Zak Ottow and blasted his way to his first 170-pound win inside the Octagon.
Northcutt's two career loses were in welterweight bouts, and he had to overcome some early adversity against Ottow. The two touched gloves and unloaded right hands. Ottow connected, and Northcutt went down. He quickly recovered but was on the bottom taking damage.
Ottow was controlling Northcutt on the ground most of the opening round. Late in the frame, Northcutt scrambled to his feet after being mounted. The momentum of the fight suddenly changed and Northcutt firing combinations. Ottow looked to get the fight back to the ground, but Northcutt gained top position after applying a guillotine choke. In the closing seconds of the round, Northcutt mounted Ottow.
Ottow looked for a takedown early in the second frame. He was able to ground Nortcutt but couldn't keep in there. Northcutt worked his way back to his feet and delivered a knee to the body on the break. He backed away and landed a combination. Ottow closed the distance but was met with a left hand that sent him to the canvas. Northcutt rushed in as Ottow stood. He slammed Ottow to the canvas and finished with a series of hammer fists. The stoppage came at the 3:13 mark of the second frame.
"It was a great strike. I guess I must have blinked right off the bat because I didn't see it coming, said Northcutt about the first exchange of the fight. "I recovered really fast. It didn't rock me or anything. It just, I didn't see the punch coming."
With his first welterweight win under his belt, Northcutt looks forward to a long career in the 170-pound division. Five of his eight Octagon appearances were at lightweight.
"I said I was going to knock my opponent out. I believed it. I planned it, and I went out there and was able to accomplish it. I know my first two fights in the UFC at 170 didn't go like were. I had certain circumstances; I was in college. But now I'm excited to be at 170," said the Texan.