Top-ranked UFC featherweight Josh Emmett saw his momentum come to a halt when he was viciously stopped by Jeremy Stephens (watch 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.
Coming off his own upset knockout win over Ricardo Lamas, Emmett fought well in the opening round of his headlining bout with “Lil ‘Heathen,” dropping him with a right hook that made it seem like a truly fearsome knockout artist was beginning to break out.
However, the veteran Stephens exhibited the iron will that’s exemplified his exciting but inconsistent career, persevering to drop Emmett with a monster left hand and finishing it with a barrage of full-power elbows in the second frame. It came with a decent amount of controversy, unfortunately, as it looked like Stephens may have landed an illegal knee on a down Emmett before replay showed he had landed what were some much more obviously illegal elbows to the back of Emmett’s head only seconds before he was brutally knocked out.
Urijah Faber blasted the non-call from Dan Miragliotta and also Dominick Cruz and Michael Bisping for brushing it off, and Emmett predictably has a similar view of the situation. Shortly after the controversial fight ended, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that Emmett will appeal the loss before the Florida State Boxing Commission.
Instant replay was not available for Miragliotta to use in Florida, which could have possibly changed the outcome if the knee, or more clearly the elbows were made available in slow-motion.
Either way, Emmett will have his day before the Florida commission, but fight appeals are rarely changed in situations like these. The elbows to the back of the head should be easy to spot, so perhaps Emmett does have an outside chance at a no contest and a rematch.
What do you think? Should the Orlando main event have been stopped when Stephens landed the strikes or was the knockout win for ‘Lil’ Heathen’ deserved?