A breakdown of the fights on the main card of UFC on Fox 28 on Saturday at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, with picks from the Review-Journal’s Adam Hill and Heidi Fang:
Josh Emmett (13-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (26-14)
Line: Stephens -165
Storyline: Stephens, who has 27 UFC fights on his resume, is in the midst of his first two-fight winning streak since 2014. He has been awarded performance bonuses for both of those victories and insists everything is finally coming together at age 31. If that’s the case, much of that credit should probably go to the coaching staff at Alliance MMA, where Stephens has honed his craft over the last several camps. The gym has quite the history with Team Alpha Male, which produced Emmett. This will be yet another chapter in the rivalry, though Emmett and Stephens insist they share a mutual respect. Emmett is 2-0 since dropping to 145 pounds following the first loss of his career. The former NAIA wrestler displays good movement and throws just about everything with power. He is coming off the best win of his career with an early knockout of former title challenger Ricardo Lamas. Stephens is aggressive and comfortable in a brawl. He is also difficult to finish, having been knocked out once in his lengthy career.
Hill’s pick: Emmett by third-round knockout
Fang’s pick: Emmett by third-round submission
Jessica Andrade (17-6) vs. Tecia Torres (10-1)
Class: Women’s strawweight
Line: Andrade -300
Storyline: Andrade has been a wrecking ball since dropping the 20 pounds from bantamweight to strawweight in 2016 with the exception of a difficult title loss to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She hopes to atone for that defeat by getting another shot at the belt and can put herself in position with a win. She blames the defeat on pacing herself too much in that five-round fight out of fear her cardio wouldn’t hold up. There is far less concern about that in a three-round fight, so Andrade can utilize her typical aggressive style. Torres maintains a similarly torrid pace, but might find it difficult to match Andrade’s strength. The best bet for Torres is to stay in motion on the outside and try to pick Andrade apart, even if it’s not her typical style.
Hill’s pick: Andrade by second-round submission
Fang’s pick: Andrade by decision
Ovince Saint Preux (22-10) vs. Ilir Latifi (14-5, 1 No Contest)
Class: Light heavyweight
Line: Saint Preux -225
Storyline: Saint Preux has put together an impressive three-fight winning streak that includes three highlight-reel finishes. While his career has been somewhat stunted by inconsistency, he appears to be on the verge of putting it all together. Latifi is exceptionally strong, but wasn’t blessed with a long reach. Saint Preux should be able to stay on the outside and pick Latifi apart with his diverse array of kicks.
Hill’s pick: Saint Preux by second-round knockout
Fang’s pick: Saint Preux by decision
Mike Perry (11-2) vs. Max Griffin (13-4)
Line: Perry -350
Storyline: Perry has a ton of power in his fists and a polarizing personality that could make him a big star in the UFC. Griffin will have an edge in height and reach, but Perry might be the hardest hitter in the division. If he gets inside, Griffin might be in trouble. Neither is likely to try to go to the mat, so it’s likely to come down to who can control the range. At some point, Perry will find himself inside Griffin’s jab and land a crushing right hand that will change the course of the fight.
Hill’s pick: Perry by first-round knockout
Fang’s pick: Perry by first-round knockout