Stephens shook off a first-round knockdown and finished the job in the second, though not without some controversy. A big left hook, some questionable blows, and pair of elbows finished the job. The bout was waved off at the 1:35 mark of the second round at Orlando’s Amway Center.
“Now we know who the hardest hitting 145er is,” Stephens said. “No disrespect, Josh Emmett put me down, but you cannot break me baby.”
The duo came out swinging in the opening round, as each tried to figure out their range. Emmett landed the first big blow of the bout, as the Team Alpha Male competitor dropped Stephens with a counter right hand.
Stephens fought his way out of the bad spot, though, and opened up in the second. A counter right was followed by a huge left which dropped Emmett. When they hit the mat, Stephens landed a series of elbows, several of which landed on the back of Emmett’s head. Stephens also grazed Emmett with a knee to the head while he was downed.
Referee Dan Miragliotta did not penalize or warn Stephens for any of the apparent infractions, and Stephens then put Emmett out with a pair of huge — legal — elbows.
“He was tough, man,” Stephens said. “We were out there swinging. Those Alpha Male guys are tough, we gave you a show.”
The victory was the third in a row for Stephens (28-11) and his 18th career knockout. It was also the 15th UFC win for Stephens, who debuted in the company at UFC 71. Emmett (13-2) had a two-fight win streak snapped.