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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Stephens vs Moicano Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Well, we got another UFC on FOX event in our hands and it seems this one isn’t carrying much buzz. UFC on FOX 28 is being headlined by a featherweight bout involving Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens. Although this main event doesn’t carry much star power, it is a crucial fight for the featherweight division that promises good action. This fun featherweight fight is accompanied by other solid bookings, as UFC on FOX 28 features a likely title-eliminator bout between top strawweights Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres, an important light heavyweight contest in Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi, and the return of fan favorite welterweight Mike Perry, who takes on Max Griffin.

What: UFC on FOX 28

Where: Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

When: Saturday, Feb. 24. The four-fight UFC Fight Pass preliminary card begins at 4:15 p.m. ET, the four-fight FOX preliminary card begins at 6 p.m. ET, and the four-fight main card begins at 8 p.m. ET also on FOX.

Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens

This is a great booking involving two top featherweights looking to become serious title contenders. This fight has received some hate because it’s serves as the headlining fight of the card. But that removed, this 145-pound contest checks two important boxes that make a good fight: It’s relevant and has a lot on the line, and it promises high-level action.

Emmett made waves with his short-notice knockout win over former title challenger Ricardo Lamas last December. Emmett is a vintage Team Alpha Male fighter. He’s a great athlete with great wrestling and top control, and a solid standup game that’s both quick and powerful.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Stephens might not be as well-rounded as Emmett, but he’s more dangerous. Stephens has a powerful but also technical striking game. Stephens mixes things up well between leg kicks and punches. Stephens is not a great grappler, but he does have good submission defense and takedown defense.

This is an interesting fight. Emmett is new to fighting guys from the top echelon of the division, while Stephens has been fighting top-level guys for quite sometime. Stephens has had issues with strong grapplers or guys that are able to keep him at distance. Emmett like to press with his striking, so I don’t see that being his path to victory. I think he will likely be looking to mix things up and tie up Stephens whenever he can. Although a possible scenario, I doubt Emmett pulls this one off.

I see Stephens using his raw power to stuff takedowns and utilizing his leg kicks often to slow down Emmett and hinder his ability to shoot for takedowns. We saw Emmett experience some issues with Lamas’ leg kicks. This should be a fun contest, and I see Stephens getting a convincing win here.

Pick: Stephens

Jessica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres

This could very well be a title eliminator bout, specially if Tecia Torres wins.

Torres is currently on a three-fight win streak. “The Tiny Tornado” has looked great in her recent performances. Torres is extremely well-rounded and athletic. Torres is a skilled striker with a solid wrestling base.

Jessica Andrade is a powerhouse at 115 pounds. The Brazilian has wild and dangerous striking, strong takedowns, heavy ground-and-pound, and a mean guillotine. Andrade is a nightmare match up for most of the strawweights in the UFC.

It’s clear to me Torres is technically more refined than Andrade. Her striking is much cleaner, her attacks are more varied, and her movement is much smoother than Andrade’s. Athletically, this is an interesting match up. Andrade is a beast, but Torres is not too far behind, being one of the stronger fighters in the division.

This one can go either way. I thought the more technical Claudia Gadelha would defeat Andrade. I was wrong. I can see Andrade putting it on Torres, but I can also see Torres outclassing Andrade. Tough call, but I’m leaning towards Torres. I think Torres has really good movement of the feet and that’s key when facing Andrade.

Pick: Torres

Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi

This is a weird one to pick. I have a hard time seeing this match-up play out in my head.

Ovince Saint Preux is a strong fighter with very dangerous striking. Saint Preux has proven to have good wrestling and ground-and-pound, but doesn’t use that part of his game often. Saint Preux hits hard, but not often. He’s also difficult to take down, given his size.

Ilir Latifi is a tank. The Swedish fighter is a very skilled wrestler with good top control. Latifi is also competent on the feet and can pack a punch. He also has great cardio and keeps a solid pace, unlike Saint Preux, who’s had shown to have a low output at times.

Part of me believes Saint Preux will be too strong to take down. But even then, I can see Latifi being able to control Saint Preux in the clinch and against the cage. Latifi keeps a high pace and pressures a lot. I believe he’ll be able to avoid a big shot from Saint Preux and control him against the cage or the ground.

Pick: Latifi

Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin

Fun fight to kick off the main card.

Mike Perry is a promising fighter that’s been making plenty of noise in the division. Perry is a good striker with plenty of power. Perry is also very athletic and possesses a killer instinct. Meanwhile, Max Griffin is also a pretty athletic fighter with good boxing and wrestling. Griffin is durable, but he also gets hits often.

This should be a good fight. Perry has scary power and Griffin doesn’t have the best striking defense. I think Perry will likely get a finish here.

Pick: Perry


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