The UFC makes its return to Florida this Saturday and that’s more than okay with Jeremy Stephens.
The Iowa native has seemingly done it all in his MMA career. At only 33 years old, Stephens has seen well over a decade’s worth of Octagon time and with three Knockout of the Night, six Fight of the Night and one Performance of the Night bonus, what could stand out the most in his 46-fight career?
That lone Performance of the Night performance.
In Stephens’ second trip to the Sunshine State on February 24, 2018, he was slated to take on Josh Emmett in the headline bout at Amway Center in Orlando. Stephens came into the fight as a slight favorite at -150.
Fans were having trouble predicting what was to come, as Stephens was coming off two consecutive Fight of the Night bonuses, but Emmett had never earned a performance bonus. With the fight being yet another Alliance MMA vs Team Alpha Male fight, fans were leaning toward seeing a brawl.
When referee Dan Miragliotta instructed the men to fight, Stephens immediately took the center of the Octagon and began stalking. The opening minute saw a large amount of feeling out before Stephens started letting his hands fly. Just as both men settled into their groove, Emmett landed a low blow, taking us back to square one.
The fight took an enormous turn when Stephens began ramping up his combinations. Every strike seemed to have a harder and harder strike buried in it and Emmett found his back against the cage. A desperate counter right from Emmett dropped Stephens and he ate multiple elbows before getting the fight back to the feet and regrouping.
Stephens had the first round stolen from him, so he came out swinging for the fences in the second. The big shot didn’t seem to be there for Stephens until a flush spinning backfist found its way to the side of Emmett’s head. Call it a newfound confidence, call it Jeremy Stephens being Jeremy Stephens, but a counter right followed by a left and a right dropped Emmett hard before Stephens shut the lights out for good.
Stephens’ career defining knockout not only earned him an extra $50,000, it also marked the first and only time Emmett had ever been finished.
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Jeremy Stephens vs Josh Emmett here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/62863