Less than a week after an incredible UFC Fight Night card featuring Donald “Cowboy Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros, the UFC makes it way to Orlando, Florida for a stacked card on big Fox! Headlining the card, is a pair of Featherweight sluggers in Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens. Emmett, is coming off a knockout victory over Ricardo Lamas. He took the fight on short-notice, missed weight and delivered a vicious knockout that catapulted himself into Featherweight contention. The missing weight part is unfortunate, but the victory turned Emmett from a Prelim fighter to now a Headliner on Fox. Essentially with a career defining win, he skipped a line that would of taken him at least four or five fights to even reach.
As for Stephens, he comes into this bout on a two-fight win streak. Most recently, he turned in perhaps his most impressive UFC performance since debuting in the UFC in 2007. He defeated Doo Ho Choi via second-round knockout. Given the amount of punishment Choi took and dished out in his previous fight with Cub Swanson and the fact he had never been finished in career, for Stephens to put him away was very impressive. The UFC certainly thinks so too, as Stephens was awarded by headlining a second straight card.
Anyways, let’s get to the Predictions!
UFC on FOX 28 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
145 lbs.: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens – After what Josh Emmett did to Ricardo Lamas, this fight is definitely intriguing. However, before defeating Lamas, Emmett wasn’t exactly lighting the world on the fire. He was winning, but not flat lining opponents. The power maybe didn’t translate at Lightweight, but still. And I’m not trying to put him down as a fighter, but I also can’t imagine the weight cut at his frame to 145 lbs. isn’t draining. Now, let me say this. Emmett deserves this spot as a headliner. He might of missed weight in his last fight, but it was on short notice. And even with the missed weight, he was expected to get bulldozed against Lamas. Instead, he flattened one of the best Featherweights on the planet with a power left hook. Give him credit!
Anyways, as for prediction, I have Stephens. I believe he’s just too durable and crafty on the feet to be put away by Emmett. He also has solid wrestling abilities if it gets dicey on the feet. And cardio-wise, Stephens can go the distance. Emmett I’m not so sure, especially given the punishment he’s going to have to endure along the way. So with that, I have Stephens winning via knockout.
115 lbs.: Tecia Torres vs. Jessica Andrade – I’m going to be honest, I really don’t see how Torres wins this fight. Andrade is a tank, who throws in volume and has the power to knock you out. She has good takedown defense, a granite chin, a non-stop pace and is always coming forward. Torres is an excellent fighter, but she relies on her in-and-out striking to outpoint opponents on the feet. That style could work against Andrade, but I don’t think Torres has the cardio to keep it up for three rounds. I also don’t believe she can withstand the punishment Andrade is going to dish out for three rounds. So with that, I have Andrade winning via TKO.
205 lbs.: Ilir Latifi vs. Ovince Saint Preux – This is a tough match for OSP, as Latifi is a wrestler who relies on his heavy top control to smother opponents. And if there’s a weakness of OSP, it’s a wrestler. I mean, Ryan Bader, Glover Teixeira, Jon Jones and even Corey Anderson were able to take down OSP and easily control him on the ground. However, as we’ve seen in the Corey Anderson fight, OSP never gives up and is dangerous at any point in the fight. He’s got power in his hands, dynamite head kicks and a Von Flue Choke in his back pocket. Latifi also has power, but his striking isn’t as fluid and essentially consists of overhands meant to knock you out.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with OSP. I believe he can stuff Latifi’s takedown attempts early and use his arsenal of striking to piece up the Swedish bull. So with that, I have OSP via knockout.
170 lbs.: Max Griffin vs. Mike Perry – I get why Max Griffin took this fight, as he’s on the main card on Fox and he’s fighting a well known opponent in Mike Perry. However, given that he’s 1-2 in the UFC, wouldn’t it make sense not to fight an opponent that has perhaps the most knockout power in the division? Also, Perry happens to have a granite chin and top notch takedown defense. Griffin is tough and I give him credit for taking this chance with his UFC career perhaps on the line, but this won’t end well. So with that, Perry wins via knockout.
UFC on FOX 28 Prelims (6 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher – Oof! This is a hell of a fight and tough one to call. In one corner, you have the former UFC Bantamweight Champion and arguably at one point the pound-for-pound best fighter in Renan Barao. In the other, you have a rising talent in Brian Kelleher, who looked spectacular in his last fight.
Given that Kelleher is a volume striker, has sneaky good grappling abilities, I really could see him pull off the biggest win of his career. However, Barao moved from his camp in Brazil and now trains at ATT in the United States. He’s cleaned up his diet and looks to be in phenomenal shape. I mean, if there was anything telling, it was how much better he looked at weigh-ins then he did at his peak in the UFC.
So, as for the prediction, I’ve got Barao. I really believe that he made the right move to change camps and clean up his diet. He’s still talented and his wrestling abilities have gradually improved to compliment his already solid striking. He just needs to shore up his striking defense still. Anyways, I’ll say Barao wins this via submission.
135 lbs.: Marion Reneau vs. Sara McMann – This is a great scrap, but I’m siding with McMann. Reneau’s greatest strength is her striking and McMann’s superior wrestler can easily neutralize that. However, I do realize McMann’s lack of submission defense, which is going to be undoubtedly tested by Reneau. Given that McMann faltered in her last fight, one in which could of granted her a title shot, I believe she rights her wrong her with a dominant performance. So with that, I have McMann via decision.
115 lbs.: Angela Hill vs. Maryna Moroz – Given that Moroz’s striking is terrible and her output/accuracy is non-existent, Hill should shine here. Moroz could attempt to get this fight to the mat, but I don’t her having the cardio to rinse and repeat… So with that, I have Hill winning via dominant decision.
170 lbs.: Alan Jouban vs. Ben Saunders – Even though people are quick to point out Jouban’s shaky chin, it’s Ben Saunders who’s been shaky everywhere. I mean Peter Sobotta hasn’t finished an opponent via strikes since 2008 and he TKO’d Saunders… So with that, I have Jouban via knockout!
UFC on FOX 28 Prelims on Fight Pass (4 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Marcin Prachnio – Don’t know Prachnio, but I see he’s a bonafide finisher. Given Alvey’s recent fights and how uneventful they have been, it’s probably an easy choice to edge Prachnio. However, Prachnio is making his promotional debut and octagon jitters can be real. I could Prachnio being overly aggressive head hunting for the knockout and Alvey, a counter puncher, in turn knocking him out. Let’s go with that… Alvey via KO!
135 lbs.: Russel Doane vs. Rani Yahya – While Yahya is heavily favored to win this fight, his cardio is also heavily favored to run out during round two. Given Yahya’s superior grappling abilities, perhaps he could take the first two rounds and coast. However, Doane is an excellent wrestler and actually has cardio to last three rounds. As for a prediction, I believe there’s going to be a lot of wrestling and grappling in this matchup. Yahya will win most of the exchanges, however later into the fight he will fade and Doane will takeover. So with that, I have Doane via decision.
125 lbs.: Alex Perez vs. Eric Shelton – I’m not too knowledgeable about Perez, but him missing weight has made this an easier pick for me. Shelton, the former TUF 24 contestant has had no easy fights thus far in his UFC tenure. If count exhibition bouts, his last four bouts have been Tim Elliott, Alexandre Pantoja, Jarred Brooks and Jenel Lausa. And get this, Shelton lost three of those fights via either majority or split decision. The other he won, thanks to his improved takedown defense, which has allowed his boxing to take over. The potential to be a contender is there and I believe he makes a statement in this fight with a dominant decision victory.
135 lbs.: Manny Bermudez vs. Albert Morales – I’ll admit, after Morales fought Thomas Almeida, I thought there was some potential. There still is, but he must adapt his game other than being an aggressive striker who’s willing to eat punches. I mean, Morales is 1-3-1 in the UFC, so something has to change right? You would think so, but after that defeat to Benito Lopez, I can’t trust him. So with that, I have Bermudez winning via decision.