Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight scrappers Ricardo Lamas and Josh Emmett collided last night (Dec. 16, 2017) at UFC on FOX 26 inside the Bell MTS Center in Winnipeg, Canada.
Lamas is one of the best fighters in the world without a title strap. The longtime top five Featherweight was looking to change that, however, as “The Bully” was putting wins together in eager pursuit of a second title shot. He was originally set for a more high-profile match with Jose Aldo, but Frankie Edgar’s injury stole his dance partner a few weeks ago.
Emmett noticed that opening and immediately asked for the bout despite the short-notice. The lack of time to prepare resulted in Emmett missing weight by a couple pounds, but the Californian was still hoping to make the most of this opportunity.
Boy, did he ever.
Lamas began the bout with pressure, looking to kick Emmett as he moved around the outside. Emmett began to find his range a bit with his combinations, but Lamas kept his hands high and returned with some heavy low kicks.
Most exchanges were very closely contested. Lamas’ best strike was that low kick, but his other kicks were landing as well, mostly to his opponent’s forearms. Meanwhile, Emmett landed some really powerful combinations, but most of them were at least partially deflected his foe’s high guard. He also landed a couple chopping low kicks at the end of his own combinations.
Suddenly, it all ended in the final 30 seconds of the round.
Emmett fired some fast shots and got a bit closer. Lamas answered with a low kick that did land, and Emmett’s attempt to time it with a cross missed. However, Emmett was fully loaded up for a left hook, and it crashed into Lamas’ chin as “Bully” tried to follow up the kick with his own punch.
Lamas fell to the floor like he’d been shot, and Emmett walked off having secured his first official UFC knockout.
It’s hard to deny that Featherweight was the correct move for Emmett, even if he did miss weight here. At Lightweight, his combinations definitely had an impact, but it’s harder to knock out larger opponents. Against fighters closer to his own height, Emmett’s power shots have been brutal, as he followed up a record setting four-knockdowns with a massive one shot knockout.
Prior to the knockout, both men were fighting well. Lamas’ jab and kicks were working, while Emmett was getting closer and closer to landing his power shots cleanly. Ultimately, Emmett found Lamas’ chin before Lamas could wear him down with kicks, and that was the end of it.
Moving forward, where does Emmett go from here? So long as the weight issue is one-off, he’s definitely a title contender at 145 lbs. The most likely match up next is Brian Ortega, who is coming off a huge win of his own just a week ago. That’s a pretty perfect title eliminator bout for the winner of Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar.
As for Lamas, it was just one bad sequence. He threw the leg kick from just a little too close, and he chose to follow up with a punch rather than duck his head and fade off. Until then, his kickboxing was looking sharp, and those low kicks were definitely going to have an effect over time.
Perhaps the only other comment I have for Lamas is that I expected him to wrestle more. Emmett was going to be difficult to take down while fresh, but he did accept the bout on short-notice and miss weight as a result. Grinding for takedowns, even if the shot doesn’t land, is perhaps the quickest way to test the conditioning.
Plus, there’s less chance that a picture-perfect left hook lands while working for a single leg takedown.
Last night, Josh Emmett announced his place among the Featherweight elite with a brutal first-round knockout. Who should Emmett face next?
For complete UFC on FOX 26 “Lawler vs. Dos Anjos” results and play-by-play, click HERE!