Sage Northcutt to face Shinya Aoki in first fight since '19

Former MMA super prospect Sage Northcutt is returning to action in April.

Northcutt will face Shinya Aoki on April 28 at ONE on TNT IV, ONE officials told ESPN. Northcutt also confirmed the news on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show. The fight will be contested in the promotion's lightweight division, which is 170 pounds.

Northcutt, 24, (11-3) hasn't fought since May 2019, when he lost his ONE debut to Cosmo Alexandre in a 185-pound fight. Northcutt lost that fight via knockout in just 29 seconds and suffered eight facial fractures as a result. The fight was his first after leaving the UFC via free agency and snapped his three-fight winning streak.

Northcutt started his career a perfect 7-0. Before his first pro loss in January 2016, he was considered one of the brightest young stars in MMA. He would go on to lose two of his next three fights, but then got back on track with three straight wins before leaving the UFC to sign with ONE in late 2018.

Aoki, 37, (46-9, 1 NC) was considered one of the best fighters in the world when he was in his prime. He is on a three-fight winning streak and has won seven of his last eight fights. The Japanese-born Aoki is a former ONE, DREAM and Shooto champion.

The event will mark the finale of a four-week stretch in April that will see the promotion air live on TNT every Wednesday. Each televised card will feature three live fights.