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Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson - 3/30/19 UFC on ESPN 2 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Josh Emmett vs. Michael Johnson
Date & Time Saturday March 30, 2019, 8:30 PM (EDT)
Location
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Line
The Line: Johnson -112 / Emmett -102 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
ESPN
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Trevor MacMillan-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Emmett and Michael Johnson fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 2 at the Wells Fargo Center.

Josh Emmett enters this fight with a 13-2 record and has won 54 percent of his fights by decision. Emmett has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off a February loss (2018) to Jeremy Stephens. Emmett is averaging 3.89 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 37 percent. Emmett is averaging 1.90 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Emmett is coming off a brutal knockout loss, his first clear loss of his career, so it’s going to be interesting to see which fighter we’re going to get this time around. Not only has it been over a year since we’ve seen Emmett, but fighters are often a little timid when getting knocked out cold and can change their style a bit, so watching the first round early will be key. If we get the usual Emmett, we’re going to see a lot of grappling and wrestling, the two things he has a deep background in and has won nearly every fight when he gets his style. Emmett is one of the more well conditioned fighters in the featherweight division and has won seven of his eight career decisions. Emmett has some knockout pop in his standup striking, which he showed against Ricardo Lamas, but he’s more effective when making things ugly and turning a fight into a battle of conditioning, fighting smart for the long haul. This will be Emmett’s first career fight in Pennsylvania.

Michael Johnson enters this fight with a 19-13 record and has won 42 percent of his fights by knockout. Johnson split his last 10 fights and is coming off an October win over Artem Lobov. Johnson is averaging 4.31 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 38 percent. Johnson is averaging 0.59 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Johnson has turned things around with back-to-back victories after snapping a three-fight losing streak, and he now has a chance to win three straight bouts for the first time since 2013-15. Johnson has always had tons of potential but has never been able to put everything together for long stretches. It’s just flashes. Johnson has some of the fastest hands in the sport and puts together effective combinations due to his boxing background. A standup fight, Johnson has to like his chances given his hand speed, power and the fact it’s where he lands 87 percent of his strikes. Johnson also has a college wrestling background where he shined on the NJCAA level, but eight of his 13 career losses have been submissions, so the canvas clearly hasn’t been kind to him over his career. This will be Johnson’s second career fight in Pennsylvania.

Emmett has the clear edge in this fight if it goes to the canvas or he can get Johnson in the clinch and eventually drag him into deep waters. If it’s a standup fight where striking is key, Johnson has the clear edge. I’m leaning toward Johnson getting his hand raised. One, he’s the bigger, longer fighter and should be able to control distance to not only land the difference maker but also prevent the takedown attempts. We also haven’t seen Emmett in the octagon in over a year, and he’s fighting a guy with terrific hand speed and punching power, so I’m not sure how he’s dealing with this from a mental standpoint.

We should find out early what style of fight we get, but I’m picking Johnson to win his third straight fight.

Pick:
Michael Johnson -112

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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