After a hiatus of almost four years from the cage following facial fractures in his ONE Championship debut, “Super” Sage Northcutt made a triumphant return to the sport as part of the promotion’s inaugural U.S. event, in Broomfield, Colorado on Friday.
Previously, Northcutt suffered eight facial fractures and was immediately rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Northcutt underwent a nine-hour operation to repair his injuries, which included bleeding on the brain, and was in a coma for a brief period after surgery. Northcutt’s sister also posted on Instagram that he had experienced heart complications during his recovery, but was “doing well”.
Northcutt’s team faced a tremendous amount of backlash at the time for having accepted a match up against Cosmo Alexandre, a world renowned kickboxer that was a former It’s Showtime 77MAX World Champion, WMC Intercontinental and WPMF World Champion, W5 World Champion.
This time, Northcutt faced off against Pakistan’s Ahmed Mujtaba, who had entered the with a 10-2 record and a two win streak.
Active right from the opening bell, Northcutt started firing high kicks. However, he was knocked down by a Mujtaba jab, although he seemed to be more off-balance than hurt. Mujtaba made a critical mistake by following Northcutt to the ground instead of letting him stand up where he might have been more tentative after such a long absence from the sport.
Once on the ground, Northcutt quickly secured a leg and locked in a heel hook before Ahmed Mujtaba could react. Within seconds, Mujtaba was tapping out, and Northcutt had a sensational victory under his belt.
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After, Northcutt spoke of feeling like a more complete martial artist than ever before, with his wrestling and jiu-jitsu skills having improved significantly. Mujtaba undoubtedly experienced this firsthand in the octagon on Friday night. The win was especially sweet for Northcutt, who received a $50,000 bonus for his impressive performance.
Official Result: Sage Northcutt def. Ahmed Mujtaba by submission (heel hook), Round 1, 0:39