UFC on Fox 22 – Stars Fall in Sacramento

As the world leader in mixed martial arts, the UFC has earned its place by building stars in each era of the company’s history. In 2016, with the new owners (WME-IMG) having spent $4.2 billion in addition to acquiring several million dollars in pre-sale debt, building stars and marketing is more important than ever.

However, this is 2016. Fighters may have a base, but if you aren’t a mixed martial artist in this age, it will show and that’s what happened in Sacramento last night. The company promoting you can’t compete in your place.

Though both are marketable based on looks and personality, the 30-year-old mother and former Invicta FC atomweight champion in Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson got the better of “12 Gauge” Paige VanZant by being a better fighter. VanZant (a 22-year-old Dancing with the Stars runner-up) and Sage Northcutt (see below) share the same kryptonite: jiu-jitsu.

Waterson (previously 13-4 with 11 finishes, eight by submission) put VanZant away inside of the first five minutes of a scheduled 25. They engage in striking just long enough for Waterson to back VanZant up to the fence with a right hand. “12 Guage” had apparently made a habit of using a head-and-arm throw so much that not only did Waterson avoid it, but used in en route to the victory.

VanZant initially fended off the rear-naked choke her adversary was looking for by prying her hands apart.

She kept at it though and VanZant’s lights went out before she could tap. Waterson had not fought before this since July of 2015. VanZant falls to 4-2 in the UFC, 7-3 in MMA.

Michelle Waterson def. Paige VanZant via Rear-Naked Choke at 3:21 of Round 1

Co-Main Event: Northcutt vs. Gall

Mickey Gall passed his first real test inside the Octagon with flying colors. With wins under his belt against Mike Jackson (a 31-year-old photographer with one amateur fight on his record) and former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks, Gall had something to prove last night–and he is still proving–that he deserves to be in the UFC.

Gall entered the fight with the favorite son of Katy, Texas in Northcutt with many thinking, as he said, that this confrontation would be a striker vs. a grappler. He was eager to show off his abilities on the feet.

Northcutt, a sport karate and kickboxing world champion, keeps Gall at bay for a few seconds to open the fight. The first time the combatants clinch, Gall is instantly hovering over Northcutt in half guard and is looking for the guillotine choke. The New Jersey-based jiu-jitsu brown belt in Gall later switches to an arm-triangle. The guillotine becomes an option again but Northcutt frees his head and stands.

Gall takes a few hammerfists but is on his feet when ordered my referee Herb Dean. One more takedown allows him to finish the round in dominant fashion, show Northcutt’s weakest aspect of his skillset, and somewhat foreshadows the ending.

Clearly down a round, Northcutt strikes first with a left and drops the trash-talker opposite him. Gall shoots in when he rises, but “Super Sage” expects the move. They separate just enough for Gall to land to Northcutt’s temple. He gives up his back when scrambling, trying to recover. Northcutt does his best to defend himself, but Gall has the victory locked in.

Gall is now 3-0 in the UFC, 4-0 in MMA with each win by RNC. Northcutt falls to 3-2 in the UFC, 8-2 in MMA.

Mickey Gall def. Sage Northcutt via Rear-Naked Choke at 1:40 of Round 2