After a busy weekend of fights in the UFC last week, we are treated to yet another event this weekend in the shape of UFC Fight Night: Sacramento. As the penultimate event of what has been an eventful year, Sacramento will lead us nicely into UFC207: Rousey v Nunes, which takes place in Las Vegas on December 30th. Here’s a look at the main card for Saturday’s showdown in California:
Paige VanZant #7 v Michelle Waterson #11 – Strawweight
Following her defeat to Rose Namajunas in December last year, many were wondering how Paige VanZant would bounce back. The answer was a Performance of the Night display against Bec Rawlings on the Maia v Condit card, earlier in the year. With a sensational switch kick to the head, followed by punches, VanZant shook off the defeat in some style. Whether this was a flash in the pan or she has genuine credentials remains to be seen, but victory over the experienced #12 ranked Waterson (13-4) will see VanZant (7-2) cement her position in the top 10 of the Strawweight division.
Sage Northcutt v Mickey Gall – Welterweight
With a professional record of 3-0, Mickey Gall is still somewhat of an unknown quantity. Despite winning all 3 fights via way of submission (all by rear naked choke), Gall’s name became synonymous with the MMA debut of wrestling icon, CM Punk. In a totally one sided affair, Gall submitted Punk in 2:41 of the first round and as such, bought himself to the consciousness of many a fight fan. In Sage Northcutt, Gall will find a totally different prospect. An eager and willing prospect.
At just 20 years old, Northcutt has already notched up an 8-1 professional record and will come into this fight looking to improve his stock and launch an assault on the top 15 rankings. Coming off the back of a unanimous victory over Enrique Marin at UFC200, Northcutt will be seen by many as the favourite in this one. Whether he can pull it off against grappling specialist Gall, we shall see but this has the makings of a good fight.
Urijah Faber #7 v Brad Pickett – Bantamweight
After 13 years as a professional, Urijah Faber announced back in October that this card will be his last fight before he calls it a day. As the founder of Team Alpha Male, it’s fitting that The California Kid will enter the octagon for one last time in Sacramento. With a 33-10 record, Faber has been fighting for the UFC since March 2011 when he fought Eddie Wineland back at UFC 128. With various awards, records and accolades to his name, Faber will retire having never won a title in his time with the organisation. As much as this may grate with Faber, knowing that he was the last person to beat bitter rival, Dominick Cruz, will no doubt bring a smile to the Californian’s face.
Faber’s last foray in the world of MMA will be against the veteran Londoner, Brad Pickett. With a 25-12 record, we all know that Pickett has the experience and know how when it comes to fighting, but with 7 defeats in his 12 fight run in the UFC, it would be no great surprise if Pickett also decided to call it a day after the Faber fight. Pickett will give Faber a fight but many won’t see this one going anyway other than a Faber victory.
Alan Jouban v Mike Perry – Welterweight
Mike Perry is turning a lot of heads in the Welterweight division at the moment, and with just cause it seems. With an impressive 9-0 record, the explosive Perry has won all of his fights by way of KO/TKO. In this, his 3rd UFC contest, Perry comes up against 34 year old Alan Jouban (14-4). Jouban, who himself has chalked up 9 professional KO/TKOs, needs to be at his 100% best if he wants to have his arm raised at the end of this one. To be a serious contender in the division, Perry will need to continue doing what he’s doing; something which many think will be the case on Saturday night.