UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28: Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

After a thrilling event in Austin, Texas, last weekend, the UFC travels to Orlando for the third time.

This time, the organization will host an action-packed fight card ‘UFC on FOX 28’ that is headlined by Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens.

The event was originally supposed to have a featured bout between Yoel Romero and David Branch at the forefront, but Romero was forced to step away from this event to compete in Perth, Australia, against Luke Rockhold instead.

Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Emmett (+135) / Stephens (-145)

The main event matchup is a fascinating featherweight scrap between a proven veteran in the division in Stephens against the fast-rising Emmett. Emmett jumped all the way to #4 in the featherweight rankings after he destroyed Ricardo Lamas with a knockout punch in the first round in December. Emmett stepped up to take the fight on short notice and proved the doubters wrong by ending the fight with conviction.

Stephens, on the other hand, has always been a contender in the division but has now strung together two impressive victories against talented opponents. Just last month, Stephens decisively beat down Doo Ho Choi in the second round, and that made it two wins in a row for Stephens after he chopped down the legs of Gilbert Melendez at UFC 215 not long before that.

The winner of this fight will be just outside title contention.

Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via KO/TKO

Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Andrade (-280) / Torres (+260)

In the co-main event, two of the very best women’s strawweights will compete in what seems like a title eliminator bout.

Tecia Torres was rumored to get the next shot at the new champion, Rose Namajunas, but the former champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk got the call for a rematch instead. That means that Torres will now be competing against the insanely tough Jessica Andrade first if she wants a shot at that title.

Jessica Andrade broke through in a big way when she scored a decisive victory against Claudia Gadelha last year. It was a strong way to bounce back from losing to the then-champion, and now Andrade seems completely refreshed and ready to make another run for the title – no matter who the champion might be this time.

Torres is starting to turn heads in the division after she has scored three very impressive victories in a row. These victories mark a strong return to form after losing to Rose Namajunas in April 2016. Her and Namajunas are now 1-1 through their career, and a win against Andrade will set up a fascinating rubber match.

Prediction: Jessica Andrade via decision

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Saint Preux (-110) / Latifi (+105)

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi will also feature on the main card of UFC on FOX 28.

After an entire career of being just another contender in the division, Saint Preux is quickly gaining fame for his impressive ability to finish fights with the Von Flue choke. After losing to Jon Jones, Jimi Manuwa, and Volkan Oezdemir, Saint Preux has now put together three consecutive wins, and this was all topped off with a big knockout victory of Corey Anderson at UFC 217 in November.

Just like “OSP,” Ilir Latifi has enjoyed a return to winning ways recently. Latifi lost devastatingly to Ryan Bader in September 2016 when he was on the wrong end of a powerful knee. But he picked up a mightily impressive victory when he outclassed Tyson Pedro at UFC 215 in September.

Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via KO/TKO

Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin

UFC on FOX 28 Betting Odds: Perry (-275) / Griffin (+280)

Fan-favorite Mike Perry will face Max Griffin in what is expected to be a full-on battle between heavy punchers.

Perry has captured the attention of MMA fans around the world because of his amazingly aggressive fighting style and attitude. He arrived in a big way in 2016 when he knocked out Hyun Gyu Lim and Danny Roberts, but opponents have now started to work him out.

Most recently, Santiago Ponzinibbio solved the Perry puzzle and defeated him in December. It is Perry’s second loss in four fights. Regardless of whether opponents are finding ways to handle Perry easier, he is always a strong chance to knock someone out.

Perry will come up against Max Griffin, who has won just one of his first three bouts with the organization. Colby Covington defeated him in his UFC debut but he then went on to win against Erick Montano. In his last bout, Griffin lost a unanimous decision to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos.

Prediction: Mike Perry via KO/TKO

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UFC on FOX 28 fight card

UFC on FOX 28 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 4:00 pm ET (9:00 pm GMT) on Saturday, February 24.

Main Card

FOX (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Josh Emmett (+135) vs. Jeremy Stephens (-145)
  • Jessica Andrade (-280) vs. Tecia Torres (+260)
  • Ovince Saint Preux (-110) vs. Ilir Latifi (+105)
  • Mike Perry (-275) vs. Max Griffin (+280)

Prelims

FS1 (6:00 pm ET / 11:00 pm GMT)

  • Renan Barao vs. Brian Kelleher
  • Sara McMann vs. Marion Reneau
  • Angela Hill vs. Maryna Moroz
  • Ben Saunders vs. Alan Jouban

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (4:00 pm ET / 9:00 pm GMT)

  • Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier
  • Sam Alvey vs. Marcin Prachnio
  • Rani Yahya vs. Russell Doane
  • Eric Shelton vs. Alex Perez
  • Albert Morales vs. Manny Bermudez

UFC 221: Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold

Perth, Australia, will host the UFC’s second pay-per-view event of 2018.

The organization had hoped to showcase the UFC Middleweight Champion, Robert Whitaker, in front of his fans in Australia, but a list of injuries has forced Whittaker to withdraw. In his place, Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero will now do battle for the UFC Interim Middleweight Champion and the winner will likely receive a shot at Whittaker sometime in 2018.

While the absence of Whittaker certainly impacts the Australian fans, the main event bout between Rockhold and Romero is truly world-class. Rockhold and Romero are two of the most physically superior athletes in mixed martial arts. Rockhold uses his strength and power combined with excellent technique to apply incredibly heavy top pressure to his opponent when the fight hits the ground. Romero, a former Olympic wrestler, is incredibly explosive and only narrowly lost to Whittaker in 2017.

Rockhold steps into this fight after defeating David Branch at UFC Fight Night 116. Rockhold showed some concerns while standing, but managed to get the fight to the ground before ground and pounding Branch into submission. For Romero, this will be his first fight since losing a unanimous decision to Robert Whittaker at UFC 213. Whittaker is the only man to have defeated Romero in the UFC.

Prediction: Yoel Romero by KO/TKO – Round 2

In the co-main event, Mark Hunt will take on Curtis Blaydes in a battle between two heavy-hitting heavyweight fighters. Hunt showed his wealth of experience and knowledge at UFC Fight Night 110 when he cruised past Derrick Lewis before securing a KO/TKO victory in the fourth round. The win helped him bounce back from two consecutive defeats and was his first win since he defeated Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 85 in March 2016. Hunt is renowned for his walk-off KO’s.

Curtis Blaydes has jumped up the UFC’s heavyweight rankings after two consecutive victories. Since he lost to Francis Ngannou in April 2016, Blaydes has won three contests and been involved in one no contest. Blaydes is an excellent wrestler with heavy hands to go with his grappling ability.

Prediction: Mark Hunt by KO/TKO – Round 3

Moments before that co-main event, Tai Tuivasa will face Cyril Asker in another heavyweight matchup. Tuivasa bounced onto the scene after knocking out Rashad Coulter in 4:35 at UFC Fight Night 125 in November last year. His successful UFC debut also marked the eight victory in his undefeated career so far. Tuivasa will meet Cyril Asker, who is a relatively low-standard heavyweight in the UFC. Asker has traded wins and losses since joining the UFC in April 2016 and how has a 2-2 record in the organization. Most recently, he picked up a submission victory over Yaozong Hu in China.

Prediction: Tai Tuivasa by KO/TKO – Round 1

Jingliang Li, who is one of the rising stars of the UFC, will take on hometown favorite Jake Matthews in a welterweight bout. Li is riding a four-fight winning streak that includes a big win over Zak Ottow at UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai in November. The last time “The Leech” lost was in August 2015, when he was submitted by Keita Nakamura in Japan. He’ll be up against Jake Matthews who is experiencing somewhat of a bad stretch. Matthews lost to Kevin Lee and Andrew Holbrook before just scraping through for a split decision victory against Bojan Velickovic at UFC Fight Night 121 in November.

Prediction: Jingliang Li by unanimous decision

And to get the main card started, Tyson Pedro will look to rebound from his first-ever loss as he competes against Saparbek Safarov. Pedro was one of the fastest-rising stars in the light heavyweight division until he ran into Ilir Latifi at UFC 215. Latifi used his experience to slow the fight down and grind out a unanimous decision against Pedro. Safarov entered the UFC after managing an 8-0 professional career in Europe. However, he lost his debut in the organization in a “Fight of the Night” with Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night 102.

Prediction: Tyson Pedro by KO/TKO – Round 2

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UFC 221 fight card

UFC 221 begins on UFC Fight Pass from 6:30 pm ET (11:30 pm GMT) on Saturday, February 10.

Main Card

Pay-per-view (10:00 pm ET / 3:00 am GMT)

  • Yoel Romero [+125] vs. Luke Rockhold [-135]
  • Mark Hunt [+140] vs. Curtis Blaydes [-160]
  • Tai Tuivasa [-330] vs. Cyril Asker [+270]
  • Jake Matthews [+180] vs. Li Jingliang [-220]
  • Tyson Pedro [-260] vs. Saparbek Safarov [+220]

FS1 (8:00 pm ET / 1:00 am GMT)

  • Damien Brown vs. Dong Hyun Kim
  • Rob Wilkinson vs. Israel Adesanya
  • Alexander Volkanovski vs. Jeremy Kennedy
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen

Fight Pass Prelims

UFC Fight Pass (6:00 pm ET / 11:30 am GMT)

  • Ross Pearson vs. Mizuto Hirota
  • Haruto Ishihara vs. Jose Quinonez

Luke Jumeau vs. Daichi Abe