Scheduled to fight the legend Shinya Aoki at ONE Championship on April 28, Sage Northcutt will be unable to compete because he is still suffering from lasting COVID-19 effects.
The news is unfortunate because ONE just started its journey with North American broadcasting after the promotion televised its first show on TNT last week. While Sage Northcutt is out of his bout with Aoki, the legend will remain on the card and fight a rival in Eduard Folayang instead.
Sage Northcutt was set to return after a two-year healing process following multiple facial fractures in his ONE debut against Cosmo Alexandre. Initially, the lightweight had a fight lined up but it looks like fans will have to wait a bit longer for his return. Prior to the eight facial fractures, Northcutt came into the promotion with a lot of hype after a high-action UFC run. The 25-year old striking specialist left the UFC on a three-fight win streak before ONE scooped up the prospect.
On the other hand, Aoki is a former One and Dream lightweight champion. The decorated grappler has been a big name in mixed martial arts for several years now. Debuting as a professional in 2003, Aoki is a pioneer of the sport. Recently, the legend won his last fight with a rear-naked choke and remains a potent threat on the ground at 37-years of age.
It seems Sage Northcutt will need some additional time to recover from the lingering effects of COVID-19 but at least ONE found a solid replacement for the Japanese fighting legend. Hopefully, in time, fans will get to see Northcutt back in action and maybe even against Aoki in the future.
When Sage Northcutt heals up, who would you like to see the exciting lightweight fight next? Let us know in the comment section below!