Sage Northcutt had been scheduled to fight fellow 21-year-old Claudio Puelles at UFC 214 on July 29th, but Puelles has been forced to withdraw from the event through injury and Northcutt has now been penciled in to face a far more seasoned foe, John Makdessi, instead.
While Puelles has only logged nine professional fights and fought just once in the UFC, losing a decision to Martin Bravo last November, Canada’s Makdessi has fought twenty times since turning professional in 2008. ‘The Bull’ has also fought a whopping thirteen times in the UFC, dating back to 2010.
Makdessi has won seven times during his run with the world’s premier MMA promotion, but his recent form has not been inspiring. His first-round stoppage defeat to Lando Vannata last December was his third defeat in four. However, it should be noted that the Tristar lightweight has been fighting at a very high-level. Prior to being finished by the dangerous Vannata, Makdessi dropped a split decision to Yancy Medeiros and before that he was stopped by Donald Cerrone.
The veteran should provide a very tough test for the young Northcutt, who has had problems of his own in recent fights. After bounding into the UFC with a great deal of hype behind him, ‘Super’ Sage scored two solid wins to over Francisco Trevino and Cody Pfister, but things took a turn for the worse when he faced Bryan Barberena. Not only was Northcutt beaten by Barberena, but he was accused by many observers of tapping far too quickly to an arm-triangle/Von Flue choke.
Northcutt rebounded with a win over Enrique Marin but in December of last year suffered another submission defeat, this time at the hands of the inexperienced but obviously talented Mickey Gall.
This is an extremely important fight for both Northcutt and Makdessi, with both men in desperate need of a win.
UFC 214 takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The show is headlined by a pair of title fights, Daniel Cormier(c) vs Jon Jones for the UFC light-heavyweight strap and Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino vs Megan Anderson for the now vacant UFC women’s featherweight title. Aldo on the card is an interesting bantamweight bout between former champion Renan Barao and Aljimain Sterling.