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Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens UFC Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 2/24/18

Stephens vs. Emmett

UFC: Saturday, February 24, 2018 (Amway Center)

The Line: Emmett +125 / Stephens -145 -- Over/Under: 3.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: FOX

Josh Emmett and Jeremy Stephens fight Saturday in the UFC on Fox 28 at the Amway Center.

Josh Emmett enters this fight with a 13-1 record and has won 54 percent of his fights by decision. Emmett has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a December win over Ricardo Lamas. Emmett is averaging 4.01 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 36.8 percent. Emmett is averaging 2.09 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 52.9 percent. Emmett is coming off an impressive performance in which he produced a first round one strike knockout, his first bout that didn’t go to a decision since his 2016 fight with Christos Giagos. Emmett usually isn’t the sexiest fighter in the world, but he has a deep background in wrestling, is a polished grappler and has a high IQ that allows him to be crisp defensively and avoid any serious trouble. Emmett defends extremely well, and his only loss was a split decision against Desmond Green. Emmett is fundamentally sound and in terrific shape that allows him to be effective throughout the whole fight. Emmett is not somebody who is going to go down easily and can adjust to his opponent when needed. This will be Emmett’s first career fight in Florida.

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Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens UFC Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 2/24/18

USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Stephens enters this fight with a 26-14 record and has won 65 percent of his fights by knockout. Stephens has split his last 10 fights and is coming off a January win over Doo Ho Choi. Stephens is averaging 3.07 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40.4 percent. Stephens is averaging 1.19 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36.4 percent. Stephens has put together back-to-back victories that have earned him fight of the night honors, and he’ll fight for the second time already this year. Stephens now looks for three straight victories for the first time since 2013-14. Stephens is an aggressive fighter who throws a lot of strikes and can take a beating when he gets into these brawl type fights. Stephens has only been knocked out once in his career despite 14 losses, and that’s rather impressive given his fighting style. Stephens is also a good grappler who has executed 27 takedowns on the UFC level and has shown he can hold his own on the canvas despite not having a submission victory in over a decade. Stephens has produced knockouts in three of his last six wins, as his heavy hands give him an advantage standing up. This will be Stephens’ second career fight in Florida.

Stephens is obviously the flashier fighter who has a clear advantage in punching power and can end things at any moment when he lands cleanly. Stephens is also the slightly bigger fighter, which has its advantages as well. However, Emmett has the higher fighter IQ, is more disciplined, would have the advantage if this fight goes to the canvas, and he’s really solid defensively standing up. Emmett has yet to clearly lose a fight in the octagon, and his overall balance will be key in this fight. He’ll grapple, wrestle and wear down Stephens, limiting that power and forcing him to win another way. I like guys who have given me little reason to bet against them.

Until Emmett shows clear weakness, I’ll back him, especially with us getting plus money.

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