Hype on the Line in Vegas (UFC FN 80 Review)

ufc_fn80Hype is a funny thing in sports as it can both launch an athlete to superstardom and make athletes crumble.

In the UFC it can be a little more intense as it is an individual sport with the spotlight all on the athlete and nobody else.

So when the UFC and the media put hype behind a fighter that spotlight that comes along with everything gets that much brighter.

On one hand there are fighters, see Conor McGregor, that love the spotlight and use it to get pumped up for fights.

They thrive under pressure and use it as motivation not to let anyone down and more often than not they seek that spotlight out.

Then there are fighters who can’t handle the pressure as the media attention gets to be too much and they stop doing what made them great.

There are any number of fighters who have seen hype surround them and disappointed by losing a fight, even if it was a tight fight, only to never be heard from again.

Fighters have also been known to believe their own hype and start thinking that they are as good as everyone says they are.

These fighters stop preparing properly and go into fights thinking that nothing can hurt them only to get punched in the face and begin panicking when it rocks them.

At UFC Fight Night 80 two fighters entered the octagon with plenty of hype surrounding them as young fighters that could be the future faces of the UFC.

Sage Northcutt and Paige VanZant were the two fighters that everyone was waiting for on the card as they were considered future champions without fighting much in the UFC.

Sitting on the other side of the octagon was two more young fighters without much hype but with plenty of motivation to end the hype surrounding both Northcutt and VanZant only to take a bit of the spotlight for themselves in their respective divisions.

For Northcutt the hype began with the UFC’s new digital show “Looking for a Fight” where Dana White goes back to his roots travelling to scout fighters.

Northcutt was the featured fighter on the first episode when White laughed at his bodybuilder-type picture only to be impressed by his ability when he saw him fight.

The 19-year-old only increased the hype in his first UFC fight when he ended it in under a minute with a flurry of punches that made everyone take notice.

He came into UFC Fight Night 80 with everyone expected him to win and move on to tougher competition on his way to an eventual title.

Standing in his way was 25-year-old Cody Pfister who had begun his young UFC career at 1-1 and was looking to take some of the hype from Northcutt and put it on himself.

He started the fight doing just that as he came forward and took Northcutt down looking to grind out a win against the teenager.

Eventually the fight was moved to the feet and Northcutt turned the tables taking the fight to the ground at the end of round.

The fight went to the ground again in the second round but Pfister got sloppy allowing Northcutt to sink in a guillotine and take his second win.

The hype continues around Northcutt as he earned his second finish in his second UFC fight as he just keeps impressing and should get bigger better fights as the UFC continues to ride the wave of a young promising fighter.

VanZant began the hype when the strawweight division began in the UFC as she was one of the first fighters outside of The Ultimate Fighter to earn her spot in the promotion.

From that point on she has been impressive in tough fights that resulted in three wins including two finishes that have many believing that she is the future Ronda Rousey of the division.

A pro in interviews and a seemingly perfect spokesperson for the UFC with a great skillset and an ability to put on exciting fights, VanZant has already been crowned the future of women’s MMA.

She looked to ensure that the hype was real against by far the toughest opponent she has ever faced in Rose Namajunas.mma-sidebar.fw

The #3 fighter in the division and a finalist in The Ultimate Fighter, where the belt was on the line, Namajunas saw plenty of hype out of the reality show but has been quiet lately.

After the show she took some time to bring her skills to another level and in her last fight it paid off when she finished Angela Hill via submission.

Now Namajunas was looking to show that VanZant can’t be crowned just yet as she was looking to show everyone that she deserves the spotlight on her way to the title.

The fight was a display of absolute dominance but not by the fighter with all of the hype surrounding her.

Namajunas was constantly in control taking the fight to the ground in every round and beating VanZant up with strikes and constant submission attempts.

VanZant did prove something in the loss though as she was done multiple times with a rear naked choke locked in and armbars that seemed to be enough to stop any fighter but she refused to tap.

That was until the final choke in the fifth round where VanZant finally tapped out and took her first loss in the UFC.

VanZant will be back and better at only 21-years-old she has plenty of fights left and if she learns from this loss she may very well become the face of the division.

For Namajunas the win brings her back into focus as one of the best in the division as she is close to another title fight.

It was a night full of promising fighters and even though the ones with the most hype around them didn’t win every fight young fighters gave plenty of hope for the future of the UFC.

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