Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Feb. 24, 2018) for UFC on FOX 28 inside Amway Center in Orlando, Florida featuring a a featherweight scrap between Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens that saw “Lil Heathen” knockout Emmett in a highly-entertaining scrap (see it again here).
In the co-main event, Tecia Torres and Jessica Andrade went to war in a women’s strawweight bout that saw Andrade pick up a dominant unanimous decision victory to stake her claim as the next title challenger (recap).
Biggest Winner: Jeremy Stephens
Don’t look now, but here comes Stephens. “Lil Heathen” has headlined two straight Fight Night events, and he walked away with two second-round knockout wins in the span of just one month. Going back a bit further, Stephens has now won three in a row over the likes of Doo Ho Choi, Gilbert Melendez and now Emmett.
With the four fighters ahead of him in the rankings coming off losses, Stephens is primed to take a huge leap into the top five, inching him closer to his first-ever shot at a UFC title. He begged for it after his win, whether or not UFC president Dana White and his team give it to him, is another question. Nevertheless, Stphens has put the division on notice, living up to his word that when he knocks people out, they don’t move.
Runner Up: Max Griffin
Griffin wasn’t that well-known coming into UFC “Orlando,” but after asking for and then receiving a fight against Mike Perry, and then eventually dominating him in main card action, his stock way went up and his name will be one many won’t soon forget. Sure, Griffin is now just 2-2 so far inside the Octagon, but a win over Perry -- who has kept himself in the spotlight mostly for his talking — is a huge feather in his cap. I expect bigger and better thiings for Griffin moving forward.
Biggest Loser: Mike Perry
Perry’s hopes of finally breaking into the top 15 burst Saturday night after suffering his second straight defeat thanks to a dominant outing by aforementioned Griffin. He’s talked the talk, unfortunately he hasn’t been able to walk the walk in his last two outings, as he is now just 4-3 inside the Octagon, which is a big blow for his big-fight aspirations.
“Platinum” hasn’t shown the all-around arsenal he needs to be a big time player at welterweight. That said, he still has youth on his side to put it all together. But according to some, he needs to find a new coaching staff. Where Perry goes from here is unclear, but he needs to right his ship as soon as possible, as three straight losses won’t be good for his career.
For full UFC on FOX 28: “Emmett vs Stephens” play-by-play updates and results click here.