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UFC on FOX 28 video recap: Jeremy Stephens controversially KOs Josh Emmett

Jeremy Stephens got the knockout vs. Josh Emmett in the UFC on FOX 28 main event, but there was some debate over the finishing blows.

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

In the UFC on FOX 28 main event, featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens was in some early trouble against Josh Emmett, but came back strongly in round 2 to score a dramatic, violent, and also controversial KO at the 1:35 mark.

Stephens picked up his third straight win, simultaneously denying Emmett his third consecutive triumph. It’s the first time that Emmett has ever been finished, and it was a nasty one. Since Emmett was ranked #4 and Stephens #8, you can expect Stephens to be in the top-5 when the rankings come out next week.

What was the high point of the fight?

Having avoided being KO’d himself in round 1, Stephens floored Emmett with a beautiful counter left hand early in the 2nd round. In search of the finish, “Lil’ Heathen” dropped some hard elbows on Emmett, then threw an illegal knee towards Emmett while he was down, grazing the top of his head. A few more elbows put Emmett completely unconscious. The initial elbows Stephens threw after the knockdown appeared to hit the back of the head, which is also illegal.

Where do these two go from here?

Stephens wants a title shot next, although that’s most likely going to the Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega winner. Still, he’s probably just one win away, and perhaps a fight with Jose Aldo is his ticket to that title shot, but I’m not sure that’s a fight Aldo would be willing to take on the back of two brutal losses to Max Holloway. It’s been a career resurgence for Stephens after many ups and downs in his career, and it must feel phenomenal for him to be within touching distance of competing for a championship.

Emmett quickly shot up the featherweight rankings thanks to his one-punch KO of Ricardo Lamas. He clearly has power at 145, having knocked down all of his opponents since dropping in weight, so he’s definitely going to stick around the top-10 for the time being. This was a tough loss to take and his team will file an appeal, even though the success rate is low. Darren Elkins, Mirsad Bektic, and Myles Jury are all available options for him, but hopes of a shock run to the title came to a halt on Saturday night.

Watch it now, later or never?

Now. The fight was fun, the finish was brutal, and there was controversy.