The UFC Octagon landed in Orlando, Florida this evening for UFC on Fox 28 with a show headlined by two of the heaviest hitters fighting at 145-pounds.
Both Emmett and Stephens knew a win would put them in the mix for a shot at the 145-pounds title, but that didn't cause either of them to approach the fight cautiously and they were throwing heavy leather from the opening few seconds of the first round.
The most significant moment in round one came when Emmett beautifully slipped a punch from an advancing Stephens and he dropped him to the mat with a stinging counter right hand. Stephens was hurt, but he did well enough to cover up and he saw the round out despite Emmett's best efforts to close the fight out.
With Emmett in the ascendency, Stephens fought back in round two when he dropped Emmett himself with a beautifully timed right-left combination. The Team Alpha Male man hit the mat and Stephens followed him down with vicious elbows that looked borderline legal as they neared the back of his head.
Stephens then also landed a knee to the grounded Emmett in the finishing flurry, but the referee Dan Miragliotta ruled the sequence okay and Stephens finished the fight with a pair of brutal elbows before the bout was waved off.
Stephens had to go through fire in round one, but he used all of his experience to overcome the odds in round two and hand Emmett only the second loss of his career.
Speaking after the bout, Stephen's acknowledged Emmett's toughness stating: “He was tough, man,” Stephens said. “We were out there swinging. Those Alpha Male guys are tough, we gave you a show.”
The UFC featherweight division now has a new title contender and should Stephens keep his winning streaking ticking over, he could well find himself in a title fight before the end of 2018.
Andrade outguns Torres
In the co-main event of the evening, Tecia Torres faced Jessica Andrade in a fight that many were saying would determine the number one contender for the UFC strawweight title.
Torres started out round one well and used her footwork brilliantly to stay clear of Andrade's power strikes as the Brazilian looked to load up and wing in big heavy hooks. Before long though, the Brazilian was landing clean shots and Torres could do nothing about Andrade's power in the clinch and found herself on her back multiple times following big slams.
Andrade tried mixing it up even more in round two to put Torres on the back foot and she did well to take Torres down to the mat after landing a few clean shots on the feet. Torres made it back to her feet after a brief period on the mat, but she only succeeded in walking onto Andrade's advancing punches and she ended the round clearly 2-0 down on the cards.
Torres needed a finish in round three, but Andrade wasn't to be denied. The Brazilian continually led Torres onto her punches and she was clearly in the ascendency throughout the majority of the bout.
When the scorecards were read, Andrade was deservedly announced the winner 29-27, 29-28 and 29-28. The Brazilian could well be looking at a second shot at the UFC women's strawweight title later this year.
Griffin ends any hope of Till vs Perry
Elsewhere on the card, Max Griffin defeated Mike Perry via unanimous decision to all but end any hope of Perry ever facing Darren Till. Earlier in the day, Till had made it very clear that he was hoping to see Perry prevail over Griffin in the main card opener to set up a fight with him later on in the year, but Griffin had other ideas last evening and he put Perry to the sword for the most part of 15-minutes.
Griffin used his footwork well to stay out the way of Perry's power strikes and he opened up multiple cuts around the face of his opponent with stinging jabs and counter right hooks. Perry turned up the heat in round three to keep things interesting, but Griffin clearly won the bouts on the scorecards and he was deservedly given the nod 29-27, 29,27 and 30-27 on the scorecards.
It looks like Darren Till will have to wait a little while longer to see who he will face in his UFC return later this year.
UFC on Fox 28 Full Results
- Jeremy Stephens def. Josh Emmett via KO (Punches) at 1:35 of Round 2
- Jessica Andrade def. Tecia Torres via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ilir Latifi def. Ovince Saint Preux via Submission (Guillotine) at 3:48 of Round 1
- Max Griffin def. Mike Perry via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-27)
- Brian Kelleher def. Renan Barao via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Marion Reneau def. Sara McMann via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:40 of Round 2
- Angela Hill def. Maryna Moroz via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alan Jouban def. Ben Saunders via KO (Punch) at 2:38 of Round 2
- Sam Alvey def. Marcin Prachnio via TKO (Punch) at 4:23 of Round 1
- Rani Yahya def. Russell Doane via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 2:32 of Round 3
- Alex Perez def. Eric Shelton via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Manny Bermudez def. Albert Morales via Submission (Guillotine) at 2:33 of Round
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