The weekend is here and with it comes another exciting UFC fight card, as UFC On FOX 28 goes down from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. As is always the case before a big MMA event, we’ve got three of MMANews’ finest here to bring you their expert analysis and predictions for the fights scheduled for the main card of Saturday’s show.
UFC On FOX 28 features an exciting main event, as knockout artist Jeremy Stephens squares off against rising contender Josh Emmett. In the co-main event of the evening, former UFC title contender Jessica Andrade looks to get past Women’s MMA veteran Tecia Torres.
Also on the card this weekend is an intriguing 205-pound bout, as Ovince Saint Preux goes one-on-one against Ilir Latifi. In the main card opener, vicious knockout artist Mike Perry looks to kick off the evening with fireworks as he battles Max Griffin.
MMANews.com staff writers Matt Boone and Fernando Quiles Jr., as well as MMA News Podcast host Tim Thompson will be giving their picks for this installment of our Staff Predictions Roundtable. Check out their analysis and predictions for Saturday’s main card fights below.
- Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens (Featherweights)
- Jéssica Andrade vs. Tecia Torres (Women’s Strawweights)
- Ovince Saint Preux vs. Ilir Latifi (Light Heavyweights)
- Mike Perry vs. Max Griffin (Welterweights)
UFC ON FOX 28 STAFF PREDICTIONS
Jeremy Stephens (27-14) vs. Josh Emmett (13-1)
Matt Boone: The toughest fight of the evening to pick is the main event. I love cards like these. Emmett comes into this one with an impressive one-loss record, fresh off an awesome KO of longtime top contender Ricardo Lamas. Having said that, he hasn’t faced the same level of competition as “Lil Heathen.” Stephens is a guy who only loses to the absolute best, and he even beats plenty of them (see Stephens vs. RDA). Stephens not only knocks people out, he knocks them dead and they don’t move, regardless of whether people know “who the f*ck he is” or not, Conor! Odds makers have Stephens a slight favorite at -165 to +145 for Emmett. I’d flip those around, so if you’re trying to make some money, put a couple bucks on an underdog win for Emmett. If you’re making a straight pick, five rounds with Stephens throwing bombs is hard to pick against. Since the name of the game here is straight predictions, I’ll go with Jeremy Stephens. (Prediction: Jeremy Stephens)
Fernando Quiles Jr. This is a tough one to call. I can go with the hot hand in Emmett, or go with the proven veteran in Stephens. Make no mistake about it, Emmett’s knockout win over Ricardo Lamas was no fluke. Team Alpha Male has helped mold Emmett into a potential title contender. It can easily be argued that Stephens is the hardest puncher he’s ever faced. Stephens thrives when opponents like Doo Ho Choi play into his game. This is where I think he’ll run into issues, because I don’t believe Emmett will trade with him. I’ve got Emmett taking a unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Josh Emmett)
Tim Thompson: Emmett is getting a ton of love after his highlight reel KO of Lamas. It was impressive, but Stephens is a different animal. For Emmett to win he will have to maximize on his grappling. Stephens hasn’t been finished in over 5 years. Emmett is a contender, but Stephens time is now. He has been around for over a decade, but is only 31. (Prediction: Jeremy Stephens via KO, RD 1)
CONSENSUS: Jeremy Stephens (2-1)
Jéssica Andrade (17-6) vs. Tecia Torres (10-1)
Matt: A female knockout artist in Andrade looks to “Pile Drive” the Tiny Tornado Torres in the co-main event of the evening. Andrade is best known for her battle against Joanna Jędrzejczyk, and while she came up short against the former champion at UFC 211, she has bounced back with a big win over another former title contender in Claudia Gadelha in her last fight. Torres has lost only once in her pro MMA career, which was against current champion Rose Namajunas. Since that fight, Torres has bounced back with impressive wins over “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson in her last fight, as well as wins over Juliana Lima and Bec Rawlings. The odds makers have Andrade a huge favorite at -290, with Torres a big underdog at +250. Again, if you’re betting money, it wouldn’t hurt to make a small wager on Torres. If I’m going for a straight pick, I’ll play it safe and say Andrade gets it done. (Prediction: Jessica Andrade)
Fernando: I struggled to make a pick for this fight even more than I did with the main event. The improvements that Jessica Andrade has made to her game have made a lot of people take notice. While she used to be known for her blitzing style and chokes, she also showed off some excellent control, patience and ground-and-pound against Claudia Gadelha. Tecia Torres seems to always find a way to win. Her only loss is to current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. Her ability to out-strike Michelle Waterson took many by surprise. I’m going to lean towards Torres in this fight. I think she’ll surprise Andrade with her striking and be able to thwart dominant positions in the grappling exchange. (Prediction: Tecia Torres)
Tim: An impressive win by either woman should warrant a title shot. Torres has been dominant since her loss Rose, but the pure striking and power Andrade has will be difficult to overcome. (Prediction: Jessica Andrade via TKO, RD 3)
CONSENSUS: Jessica Andrade (2-1)
Ovince Saint Preux (22-10) vs. Ilir Latifi (13-5, 1 N.C.)
Matt: After starting a three fight losing streak against Jon Jones, which saw him knocked out by Jimi Manuwa and bested by eventual title challenger Volkan Oezdemir, OSP has bounced back with a three fight win streak. Those fights saw him topping Marcos Rogerio de Lima by submission, former 185 pound title contender Yushin Okami via submission (both Von Flue chokes, by the way) and Corey Anderson via brutal head kick KO in his last outing. OSP is definitely on a hot streak right now. Conversely, Latifi is coming off one win back in September of 2017 in his last outing against Tyson Pedro. Prior to that he was knocked out by Bellator Champion Ryan Bader in September of 2016. The odds makers have this one extremely close, with OSP a slight favorite at -125 and Latifi a slight underdog at +105. I’d have the odds a tad bit longer if it were up to me, so I’d steer clear of this fight if you’re betting this weekend. If you must, however, place a small wager on OSP. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux)
Fernando: It feels like a knockout or submission can occur at any point during this fight. Ovince Saint Preux is on a three-fight winning streak following a controversial split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir. He was losing his bout with Corey Anderson before pulling off a stunning head kick knockout in the final round. Latifi is a bit of a bruiser himself. He has three vicious knockouts in his UFC run. Latifi simply has trouble with guys who are more talented than he is. I think Saint Preux has more tools to win and he will use them for a finish. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux)
Tim: Both of these men have made a nice little niche for themselves in the UFC. Quietly having a combined 10 years in the world’s top promotion. Latifi’s frame and skill set will limit what OSP does best with grappling, but OSP’s length gives him an advantage. (Prediction: Ovince Saint Preux via U.D., 29-28 x3)
CONSENSUS: Ovince Saint Preux (3-0)
Mike Perry (11-2) vs. Max Griffin (13-4)
Matt: If Mike Perry wins, it’s gonna be via a wild TKO or KO. You can almost bet on that. Every win he has enjoyed in his pro MMA career has come by TKO or KO, and against Max Griffin, I don’t think that will change. He has two losses in his career and one of them was his last fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio. Will he return to the win column this weekend? Well, he’s facing Max Griffin, who is 1-2 in his last three and has been marked as the biggest underdog by far on the main card at +310. Set as the main card opener, this is virtually a showcase fight for a knockout artist in Perry that the UFC hopes will set the tone for the evening on the main card. (Prediction: Mike Perry)
Fernando: Let’s be real for a moment. Max Griffin was brought in to serve as a bounce back fight for Mike Perry. The chances of another highlight reel knocked on the big FOX network are also heightened when you think there is a mismatch. Can Griffin pull off the upset? Anything can happen in the sport, but he hasn’t shown anything to convince me that he can handle someone like Perry. Despite two losses, “Platinum” was not an easy out for Alan Jouban and Santiago Ponzinibbio. I think Perry is itching to make a statement and that’s what he’ll do. (Prediction: Mike Perry)
Tim: The testosterone levels will be at an all time high on Saturday when these two step into the cage. You can’t look past Griffin, but this is an ideal matchup for Perry coming off the Ponzinibbio loss. Look for some interesting back and forth early. Perry’s power, unsurprisingly, will end up being too much. (Prediction: Mike Perry via KO, RD 1)
CONSENSUS: Mike Perry (3-0)
What do you think of the above analysis for UFC On FOX 28? Do you agree or disagree with the predictions? Let us know by sounding off in the Comments section below. Join us via Twitter @mmanews_com on Saturday evening for live UFC On FOX 28 results coverage!