UFC on Fox 28: Picks for Emmett-Stephens & Other Bouts

emmett stephens

Andreas Hale

Thursday, February 22, 2018 12:35 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 12:35 PM UTC

A fast-rising up-and-comer faces and established veteran in the main event of UFC on Fox 28 on Saturday as Josh Emmett faces Jeremy Stephens at the Amway Center in Orlando.

UFC on Fox 28Free UFC Pick: Emmett-Stephens Over 3.5 RoundsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Saturday's UFC on Fox 28 from Orlando is an event that is flying under the radar but appears to be yielding some betting value with several fights for those interested in hitting the sportsbook this weekend.

Josh Emmett vs. Jeremy Stephens is a tasty bit of matchmaking as Emmett is coming off of a stunning 1st-round knockout of Ricardo Lamas, while Stephens put on a devastating display of striking against Doo Ho Choi to score a 2nd-round knockout a little over a month ago.

Oddsmakers are favoring Stephens at -160 considering that he has a proven track record in the UFC with lead in his hands. Meanwhile, Emmett will enter as a +140 underdog despite knocking off one of the featherweight division's top contenders. Emmett did come in missing weight in that fight, so there needs to be some hesitation when it comes to how much credit we give to the "Grim Reaper."

It’s hard to determine just how good Emmett is as his shocking knockout of Lamas was his first during his run in the UFC (4-1). He’s not necessarily known as a knockout artist and instead relies on his wrestling, which is certainly being fine-tuned as a member of Team Alpha Male. As for Stephens, this will be his second consecutive main event in less than two months. But he’s been incredible in his past two fights against Gilbert Melendez and Choi. Stephens’ problem has always been consistency. He hasn’t won four fights in a row since 2007 and has a knack for putting up a stinker performance just when it seems like he’s rolling.

Because of his inconsistencies, it’s difficult to take Stephens at -160. Instead, you’d be better off taking aim at the 'over' of 3.5 rounds at +105. Stephens hasn’t been finished since losing by KO to Yves Edwards in 2012 and generally either flattens his opponents or loses a decision. It’ll be up to Emmett to keep himself upright for his first five-round fight. He’ll likely pace himself but will have to weather the storm that Stephens will look to put on him early. However, he’s never been finished and there’s a chance this fight goes into the later rounds.

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The co-main event finds Jessica Andrade squaring off with Tecia Torres in a fight that could determine the next challenger for the women’s strawweight title. Andrade has been a monster since moving down to the strawweight division as she’s gone 4-1 with her only loss being to former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk. But the oddsmakers may be disrespecting her opponent a little too much heading into this fight. After opening as a -285 favorite, Andrade has bumped up to a -320 while Torres is at +260.

There are a lot of things to like about Andrade with her aggressive nature and her kryptonite being against polished strikers. Torres is no slouch with a 10-1 record. "The Tiny Tornado’s" only loss is to current champion Rose Namajunas and she’s been solid with her standup and wrestling. The line is almost blasphemous even if you think Andrade should be favored. Torres has the tools, but the question is more about if she can turn back Andrade’s ruthless aggression. But for my money, it’s a three-round fight and it is very possible she can find a way to steal two of those rounds and pull off an upset. Simply put, this is just too good to pass up.

The final fight that has a line worth looking into is the light heavyweight clash between Ilir Latifi and Ovince St. Preux. Latifi is coming off of a unanimous decision victory against Tyson Pedro but has suffered losses to the likes of Ryan Bader, Jan Blachowicz and Gegard Mousasi during his UFC stint. He doesn’t really have a notable victory aside from derailing the Pedro hype train. However, for some reason, he’s only a +110 underdog, while St. Preux, who only loses to top tier competition, is a -130 favorite. OSP is riding a three-fight winning streak with finishes of Corey Anderson, Yushin Okami and Marcos Rogério de Lima. Although his striking still tends to be reckless, his athleticism should easily trump Latifi in this fight. With three finishes in a row and facing an opponent who lost by knockout in two of his last six fights, it feels pretty safe to take OSP and the 'under' of 2.5 rounds at +105. Latifi doesn’t have the tools to beat OSP, and St. Preux will likely find a way to score yet another highlight reel finish.

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