UFC on Fox 28 - Breakdown & Predictions for the Orlando Card
Josh Emmett vs Jeremy Stephens
Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens make an enthralling headliner in Orlando with both featherweights packing threatening power. Stephens has displayed this power throughout his long career but Emmett put everyone on notice in his last fight.
Not on many people’s radar at the time – he stepped in late notice to take on the perennial top contender Ricardo Lamas in December 2017. He questioned his underdog status by landing one of the cleanest left hooks you’ll see, sending Lamas to sleep with one punch. This surprising display of power stretched his winning streak to two after his sole loss to Desmond Green.
This two-fight winning streak and power is matched and then some by Stephens and is what makes the fight so exciting with the winner likely to edge towards a shot at Max Holloway’s title.
A wealth of experience mixed with a great run of form is a potent combination and just about makes Stephens the favourite. We should be prepared to see a complete display of skills between these two well-rounded athletes and even though their intensity could spill out into mini brawls – fight IQ will play a crucial role in the fight.
A decision win for Emmett is very likely with great grappling and a gas tank to match but if Stephens can pace himself and use his experience to avoid the power shots and takedowns of Emmett, he can set up his destructive striking – whether that be punches, kicks or knees and how accurate he is could decide how long the fight lasts.
Winner: Stephens via KO/TKO
Jessica Andrade vs Tecia Torres
Two young and very talented young women grace the co-main event in the shape of Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres, with the winner on course for a shot at the victor of the rematch between Rose Namajunas and Joannna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 223.
Andrade is an absolute powerhouse who predatorily hunts the finish with an onslaught of wild strikes and takedowns. Contrastingly, Torres relies on immaculate technique and movement from an array of skills including Karate, Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She only has one loss to her name and has bossed her way to nine unanimous decisions with one submission.
These ladies represent the elite of the division and the contrast in styles should provide an intriguing contest especially as they are carrying confidence off the back of great decision wins – Andrade over top contender Claudia Gadelha and Torres over Michelle Waterson.
It is so hard to bet against Torres but Andrade is coming off the most impressive win of her career against Claudia Gadelha. She is also a beast and after fighting at 135 lbs she will have a huge power advantage. Her wild hands can cause a lot of damage which will set up takedowns but that is if she can get near ‘the Tiny Tornado’ who has the movement and speed to easily squeak out another decision.
That said, Andrade’s power and aggression may just be enough to overwhelm Torres, especially on the ground which is why her takedown average is highlighted in the breakdown. The significant strikes landed per minute is also a key stat with both fighters boasting very high numbers.
Torres is an expert in outpointing her opponents but the Brazilian does not care for points. She will look to dismantle Torres with an incredibly high output herself which could lead to a finish or control over the three rounds.
Winner: Andrade via Decision
Ovince Saint Preux vs Ilir Latifi
Two top-10 ranked light heavyweights are next up on the Fox main card. This is a huge opportunity for Ovince Saint Preux (OSP) and Ilir Latifi, as an impressive finish can propel them into title contention.
The light heavyweight division has never been so hollow with Jon Jones out of competition, Anthony Johnson retiring and the current champion Daniel Cormier focusing on fights outside the division with wins over top contenders Alexander Gustaffson and Volkan Oezdemir already under his belt.
Neither OSP or Latifi are spring chickens so a big win will shoot them up the pecking order and into conversations for the number one contender spot while they are still in their prime; an opportunity that was hard to come by when the division was ultra-competitive.
OSP bounced back from three straight losses to Jones, Jimi Manuwa and Oezdemir with three spectacular finishes. Marcos Rogério de Lima and Yushin Okami became his second and third victims of a Von Flue choke, becoming the only fighter in UFC history to pull this off three times, and he is coming off a hellacious head kick knockout over Corey Anderson in his last fight.
Latifi is also coming off a win – a decision over Tyson Pedro but this was his only fight since September 2016 so he won’t be quite as well-oiled as OSP.
There are a few important stats to consider in this one. OSP has a huge reach advantage which is a threat as he has exceptional power at the end of his range and will be able to keep Latifi at a distance. This will force the Swede to call upon his strengths which is his explosiveness and grappling.
Latifi will look to shoot in and take OSP down but this will not come without danger. OSP is just as dangerous on the mat with a very proactive submission offence which Latifi has to look out for. He has the strength and technique to stifle the weapons of OSP but we don’t know how long for.
OSP has the edge in too many areas of the fight making him the favourite but a win is not a certainty considering the power Latifi possesses.
Winner – Ovince Saint Preux via KO/TKO
Mike Perry vs Max Griffin
After blazing onto the UFC scene back in 2016, Mike Perry has promised so much but has fallen short in the big fights. His character and skillset make him impossible to ignore – he is charismatic and a true fighter who loves nothing more than to throw down with violence and he has done so with success. In his 13 fights, he has 11 wins all via knockout but his electrifying runs have been halted by tactical opponents.
His first career loss came to Alan Jouban in his third UFC fight and he was also outpointed in his last outing against Santiago Ponzinibbio. Desperate to get back to the octagon as quickly as possible, he has accepted this fight with Max Griffin who is also coming off a loss. Griffin is another hugely talented striker and, excitingly for the fans, will be willing to engage with the brawler. Griffin is 1-2 in the UFC with losses to Colby Covington and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and a great TKO win over Erick Montano but he only fought once last year so hopes a big win over Perry will kick start a consistent UFC run.
These guys are well-rounded but are most comfortable standing in the pocket, exchanging angry leather in pursuit of a quick knockout. The results of these intentions are highlighted in the breakdown with a staggering 18 knockouts between them.
This fight may not last for long with an early stand-up trade but Perry’s ferociousness and granite chin make him the favourite. The effectiveness of their striking is the key to victory and Griffin could easily land that killer strike himself or even take the fight to the ground but the motivation of Perry from that disappointing loss that went to a decision in his last fight will spark a venomous fire that could burn right through Griffin on the night.
Winner: Perry via KO/TKO