And the hits just keep on coming as the UFC sets up for yet another event this Saturday night as Paige Vanzant clashes with former Invicta atomweight champion Michelle Waterson. But before these two women meet head to head we’ll get to see Mickey Gall get his wish to face off against the natural lightweight Sage Northcutt in a welterweight match up. It’s a fight that has generated enough interest for it to be genuinely appealing, especially considering how early each of these young men are in their career. Will Gall’s callout prove to be the wise move or has he bit off more than he can chew against Northcutt?
From what I’ve gathered from Mickey Gall so far in his career is that he has solid striking with an affinity for grappling. As far as his stand up goes we only have a handful of examples both in which featured the young upstart battling men with little experience. We got to see his grappling game as he faced off against the inexperienced CM Punk back at UFC 203. The fight may have done more to answer questions about the former WWE wrestler than it did to measure Gall’s potential in the UFC. Being the longer, bigger man, Gall will most likely aim to get this fight to the ground as soon as possible rather than play around on the feet. Expect him to follow a similar game plan to what we saw in the CM Punk fight. Gall will throw some strikes and feints on the feet in order for Northcutt to counter and over compensate. Once that happens expect for Gall to shoot for a double leg takedown.
From what we’ve seen from Sage Northcutt this far in his MMA career, there’s a lot to like. He can wrestle, he can grapple, but he does much of his best work on the feet. What he’s missing is technical savvy. At times he finds himself too far forward against opponents who are obliged to take the karate expert down once he’s in their range. Gall is likely to employ a wrestling based game so it’s going to be important for Northcutt to keep his distance in this fight. He will likely have a speed advantage which he should consistently exploit with jabs or lunge punches then shuffle out before Gall can counter with strikes or a takedown attempt. Fighting in a broken rhythm will be key to throwing Gall off of his game and maintaining a gulf in between them will only enhance Northcutt’s chances of landing devastating power punches when he feels so inclined.
Both of these young men are still prospects with a ton of upside. While Northcutt has falter d against wrestlers in the past, working with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has likely given him the preparation he needs to counter Gall effectively. Look for Sage Northcutt to pull out the victory with a second round TKO.
Will it be Sage Northcutt or Mickey Gall at UFC on Fox 22?