Jeremy Stephens scored a third consecutive win when he brutally knocked out rising star Josh Emmett (highlights here) in the main event of last night’s (Sat., February 24, 2018) UFC on FOX 28 from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, but it didn’t come without some controversy.
There was a debate whether or not Stephens landed an illegal knee, and then possibly a series of illegal elbows, during a hectic finishing sequence where after “Lil’ Heathen” dropped Emmett with a left hook. Referee Dan Miragliotta never stepped in to declare the knee or the elbows illegal, but Emmett and his Team Alpha Male teammates vehemently disagree.
At least one and most likely two of the vicious elbows did hit Emmett in the back of the head.
After the win, FOX Sports 1 post-fight show co-hosts Dominick Cruz, who’s a teammate of Stephens’ at Alliance MMA, and Michael Bisping argued the knee barely grazed Emmett and didn’t ultimately have any bearing on the outcome.
Team Alpha Male coach Urijah Faber gave his opinion on his team’s defeat right after the card was done. “The California Kid” blasted Cruz and Bisping about their view of the knee, which was more in question than the elbows given the rapid sequence, on Instagram shortly after the fight by calling it clearly illegal:
“Dominick Cruz and Michael Bisping are f*cking blind. That was a knee to the back of the head. An illegal knee to the illegal back of the head. Give me a friggin’ break. Congratulations to Stephens. He fought a good one.”
It’s at least a little surprising to hear Faber not mention the elbows, which did appear to be much more egregious upon replay review.
Emmett will most likely appeal the loss before the Florida commission presiding over the event, but he could be fighting an uphill battle on this one.
Did longtime ref Miragliotta clearly drop the ball in more than one place in Orlando last night, or was did it all unfold too fast to discern the strikes?