Jeremy Stephens and Josh Emmett attempt to take one step closer to the featherweight title at UFC Orlando and Cageside Press has their picks set.
|Staff Writers||Perry vs. Griffin||Saint Preux vs. Latifi||Andrade vs. Torres||Stephens vs. Emmett|
|Heath Harshman (25-12)|
|Paarth Pande (25-12)|
|Jesse Gillette (24-13)|
|Mike Straus (23-14)|
|Eddie Law (22-15)|
|Dan Doherty (21-16)|
|Jay Anderson (19-18)|
|Gabriel Gonzalez (19-18)|
|Mike McClory (18-19)|
|Jason Payne (18-19)|
UFC Orlando has the looks of a very entertaining FOX card capped off by veteran Jeremy Stephens looking to halt another prospect’s rise when he takes on Team Alpha Male’s Josh Emmett. Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres will also do battle to determine the next challenger to the strawweight title.
Josh Emmett burst onto the scene with a short-notice knockout of perennial top-five contender Ricardo Lamas in December. The upset earned him a surprising number-four ranking in the featherweight division with just five Octagon appearances under his belt. Jeremy Stephens has had somewhat of a career revival recently, ending a two-fight losing streak with two of the finest performances of his 41-fight career against Gilbert Melendez and Doo Ho Choi. With two writers picking Emmett to get another stunning upset, the other eight sided with the experience of Stephens.
Jessica Andrade and Tecia Torres are two of the best the strawweight division has to offer. Andrade bounced right back into title contention following her loss against Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a great win over longtime top contender Claudia Gadelha. Torres is 6-1 in the UFC with the one loss in her career being a close decision against current champion Rose Namajunas. All but one writer believe Torres’ three-fight win streak will come to an end.
A pair of quietly successful light heavyweights are next, with the compact Ilir Latifi taking on the imposing former football player Ovince Saint Preux. Latifi has won four of his last five fights, and Saint Preux is on a three-fight winning streak, finishing each opponent. Close picks in this one, with six siding with OSP and four going with Latifi.
Opening up the main card is a firefight between Max Griffin and Mike Perry. Perry is a fan favorite with a 4-2 UFC record, with all four wins coming by knockout. Griffin is a dangerous striker, as showcased in his 54-second win over Erick Montano. All but one writer picked Mike Perry.