Featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens matched the longest winning streak of his UFC career in the Fight Night main event at Amway Center in Orlando, making it three straight with a second-round knockout of Josh Emmett. With the one recorded knockdown in the fight, Stephens ties Anderson SIlva’s UFC record of 18 career knockdowns.
“And now we know who the hardest-hitting 145er is,” Stephens said. “No disrespect, Josh Emmett put me down on my butt. I had to get my wits back, but you cannot break me. I’m unbreakable”.
Emmett let Stephens lead the dance to start the bout, hoping to catch the veteran with a fight-ending counter. Emmett did some good offensive work, making brief scoring rushes before darting back out. With two minutes left, Stephens began scoring, but with 1:15 left, Emmett got his counter, dropping the Iowan with a short right hand. Stephens recovered quickly and got back to his feet, but the message had been sent.
Unfortunately for Emmett, Stephens disregarded that message and kept the forward pressure up in round two, and in the second minute, a left hook put the Californian down. Stephens moved in for the finish, and while he landed two blows to the back of the head as Emmett tried to get up and threw a knee that appeared to graze his downed foe, the fouls were not called and Stephens kept throwing, with there being no controversy about the final elbow that brought in referee Dan Miragliotta to halt the fight at 1:35 of the second round.
With the win, the No. 8-ranked Stephens lifts his record 28-14. The No. 4-ranked Emmett falls to 13-2.
Jessica Andrade def. Tecia Torres via unanimous deciaion
Andrade showed once again why she’s considered one of the best at 115 pounds on Saturday. The former title contender got all she could handle from Torres, but proved to be that much better and stronger than her opponent, scoring three monstrous takedowns over the course of the 15-minute bout — including this thing of beauty.
Andrade (18-6) is hoping the impressive win will get her another shot at the strawweight title. She is now 5-1 in UFC since 2016 and looks as complete as ever in the Octagon.
Ilir Latifi def. Ovince Saint Preux via first-round submission
It’s time for the Latifi to get the bump. The Swede made quick work of Saint Preux on Saturday night in Orlando, landing 32 strikes in the first round before finishing the fight with a brutal standing choke. Latifi dropped Saint Preux after with a pair of left hooks before he was able to get ahold of his neck and lock in the submission, leaving Saint Preux unconscious in the Octagon.
After getting the win, Latifi went immediately over to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier sitting cageside to plead his case for a title shot. Cormier didn’t have much to say right away, but Latifi made a pretty strong case with his performance. He’s 5-1 in his last six fights with his only loss coming against Ryan Bader, now the Bellator MMA light heavyweight champ.
Max Griffin def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision
The biggest underdog of the night pulled off the biggest upset. Griffin, who many considered a feature opponent for Perry, showed why he has some pop at 170 pounds as well. Griffin came in patient and waited for Perry to drop his hands low before executing his strikes, leading to a cut on Perry about 15 seconds into the first round.
Perry managed to scramble to a takedown before the end of the first, but Griffin clearly made his presence known. Then in the second, Griffin dropped Perry with a vicious left hand. Somehow, Perry scrambled to his feet.
Although bloodied and battered in the final round, Perry found some pop and landed a headkick and hook that pressed Griffin up against the cage. However, he was unable to capitalize and finish things off, leading to the decision win for Griffin. Griffin is now 14-4 and 2-2 in the UFC.
The highlight of the night came in the first fight of the prelims when Alan Jouban floored one of his good friends in Ben Saunders with a vicious left hook. After that, things slowed a bit with Angela Hill grinding out a unanimous decision win over Maryna Moroz. Then. Marion Reneau came back from the dead to score an upset win over Sara McMann with a triangle choke in the second round. McMann had Reneau in trouble early in the first round before Reneau set up a nasty punch to take the fight to the ground.
In the final prelim fight, Brian Kelleher picked apart Renan Barao for an impressive unanimous decision win over the former champion. Kelleher struggled a bit to find the distance in the opening two rounds, but exploded forward in the final two minutes, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Barao before the final bell.
Kelleher (19-8) is hoping to get a shot at John Lineker in his next fight.