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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Josh Emmett after controversial knockout loss at UFC Orlando?

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Winnipeg-Emmett vs Lamas Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC on FOX 28 blew the roof off Amway Center this past Saturday night (Feb. 24, 2018) in Orlando, Florida.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Mike Perry, who was beat down by Max Griffin to suffer his second straight defeat (recap here). And Ovince Saint Preux, who was choked out by Ilir Latifi (video highlights here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Josh Emmett.

The Team Alpha Male standout was on quite a Cinderella run, knocking out Ricardo Lamas in his previous bout, which earned him a No. 4 ranking. Prior to that, he had won twelve of thirteen. But it was his knockout win over “The Bully” that put him on everyone’s radar. In fact, it was good enough to earn him headlining honors in his next bout against Jeremy Stephens.

And come fight night, it was clear Emmett meant business, taking it to “Lil Heathen,” even dropping him during one point. But, in round two, his run came crashing down after he got clipped by a devastating strike that put him on his rear. What followed, though, had everyone in the MMA world arguing.

Stephens seemingly grazed his downed foe with an illegal knee to the head, followed by two elbows to the back of the skull. Once Emmett was seeing stars, Stephens put the finishing blows with two devastating elbows to the kisser to completely shut his lights off.

Then the great debate began.

Emmett plans on appealing his loss to Stephens, but history isn’t on his side, as most athletic commissions aren’t too keen on reversing wins that have nothing to do with failed drug tests. That said, Josh better be prepared to have the “L” on his record for good.

He is still a top-five fighter, so he won’t fade from the spotlight at the drop of the hat. But if he wants to remain there, he has to score a win over a big-name foe next. If it were up to me, I’d like to see him face Cub Swanson next. Both men are coming off defeats and are currently the No. 4 (Emmett) and No. 5 (Swanson) ranked 145-pound fighters in the world.

Cub was riding high before running into Brian Ortega, winning four in a row and seemingly one more win away from a shot at the title. As for Emmett, while a title shot was a bit further from reach, he was inching closer. A matchup between those two heavy hitters sounds good for all parties involved, fight fans included.

For full UFC on FOX 28: “Emmett vs Stephens” play-by-play updates and results click here.