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UFC on FOX 18 results recap: Sage Northcutt vs Bryan Barberena fight review and analysis

Last night (Sat., Jan. 30, 2016), Sage Northcutt and Bryan Barberena went to war at UFC on FOX 18 inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. In an entertaining battle, Barberena submitted his opponent. Find out how below!

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweights Sage Northcutt and Bryan Barberena threw down last night (Jan. 30, 2016) at UFC on FOX 18 inside Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Just two fights deep into his UFC career, Northcutt entered this bout with a ton of hype behind him. At a new weight class with a more skilled opponent than ever, there was a great deal of pressure on Northcutt to perform.

Meanwhile, Barberena was still a relative unknown with a major opportunity on his hands. If he could hand "Super Sage" his first professional loss, it would go a long way in making a name for himself.

He made the most of this one.

To watch Barberena tap Northcutt check out the UFC on FOX 18 video highlights right here!

There weren't a ton of big connections early, but Northcutt was clearly in control regardless. Though he couldn't complete his takedowns, Northcutt was timing them well and forcing his opponent on the defensive.

Things heated up significantly with about two minutes remaining. Northcutt began landing some clean straight punches, and the two traded takedowns. Near the end of the round, Barberena scored with some hard strikes of his own.

Northcutt won the round, but he was also in a real fight.

Immediately in the next round, Northcutt lost his balance in the middle of a flashy kick and wound up on his back. From there, things got ugly real fast for the mega prospect.

Within his opponent's guard, Barberena battered his opponent with punches and elbows. After a minute of easy control and ground strikes, he advanced into the half guard and continued touching his opponent up.

Then, Barberena took advantage of his opponent's arm position and locked in an arm triangle choke. Despite still being in half guard and being on the wrong side to finish the choke, Barberena managed to force the submission.

This was a strong performance for "Bam Bam." He overcame his usual slow start to draw Northcutt into wild exchanges, in which both men were landing hard shots. Barberena is durable and used to such exchanges, so they played out in his favor.

Additionally, Barberena did his best to stay defensively tight and avoid absorbing a ton of damage early. Northcutt is obviously a special athlete, capable of doing big damage early in the round. Barberena did an excellent job of preventing that by avoiding any crazy shots and clinching up before Northcutt could get off his combinations.

Then, he simply took over.

This is the most important win of Barberena's career, and he made the most of it with an emphatic victory speech and celebration on the FOX platform. Following this victory, a match up with one Welterweight's many veterans would make sense.

Unfortunately for Northcutt, his hype train crashed and burned last night. That's not to say he's without talent -- the 19 year old is a spectacular athlete with some solid striking chops -- but the holes in his game have become apparent.

Perhaps most importantly, Northcutt needs to learn how to manage his energy better. In the first round, he was really trying to force takedowns and overpower his opponent. Fighting in that style simply isn't sustainable, as even the most conditioned athlete will suffer consequences.

Additionally, Northcutt's jiu-jitsu needs work. There's no excuse for being submitted from that position, so he either didn't know how to properly defend himself or quit.

The bright side is that Northcutt has plenty of time to improve. Hopefully, he'll take some time off to hit the gym and grow before returning to the Octagon.

Last night, Bryan Barberena submitted Sage Northcutt in the second round. How high can the scrappy fighter go in his new division?

For complete UFC on FOX 18: "Johnson vs Bader" results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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