Don’t look now but Jeremy Stephens has won three fights in a row and he just earned his second straight highlight reel knockout.
The win didn’t come without some controversy, however, after Stephens put Josh Emmett down in the second round and then followed up with a barrage of shots that included a couple of elbows and one knee that may have been illegal.
In the heat of the moment it was tough to tell as Stephens was throwing a flurry of punches, elbows and knees before landing a hellacious elbow strike that put Emmett out for good on the ground.
Prior to the knockout, Stephens definitely had a fight on his hands as he was out of the gate quick and immediately head hunting for the finish as he pursued Emmett around the Octagon.
The aggressive attack nearly backfired when Stephens launched a huge uppercut but instead got clipped with a short counter strike from Emmett that dropped him to the ground for a brief moment. Stephens quickly hopped back to his feet but Emmett certainly got his attention with that punch.
Still that didn’t stop Stephens from coming after him yet again in the second round, except this time it paid off.
With the fighters exchanging punches near the cage, Stephens ducked his head and launched a left hook that connected on Emmett’s jaw before he dropped to the ground a split second later. Stephens followed him to the ground where he began blasting away with punches and elbows and that’s there the controversy came in.
Stephens fired two elbow strikes, one of which came painfully close to clubbing Emmett in the back of the head. Stephens then uncorked a huge knee strike while Emmett was still definitely down on the mat.
The problem is no one could tell even on slow motion replay whether or not the knee connected and ultimately it didn’t matter because referee Dan Miragliotta didn’t pause the fight in the rapid fire sequence. A second later after blasting Emmett with a huge uppercut, Stephens followed him to the ground with a diving elbow that put the Team Alpha Male fighter down and out.
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Stephens celebrated his second consecutive knockout victory while officially declaring himself as the most vicious finisher in the featherweight division.
“And now we know who the hardest hitting 145’er is,” Stephens said following his win over Emmett.
While the replays of that knee strike will undoubtedly continue in the days to come, Stephens earned a huge victory that has to put him into title contention in the featherweight division. That’s exactly what Stephen asked about when pleading with UFC president Dana White following his win.
“Dana, give me my title shot,” Stephens said. “There’s only three guys in front of me. Please, please give it to me. 11 years in the company, always putting on a show. There’s only three guys. I’ve got a hit list. They can run but they can’t hide. I’m coming.”
As much as Stephens wants a shot at the gold, he will likely have to wait in line behind the winner of the UFC 222 co-main event between Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega. Still, Stephens has to be considered the next in line behind that fight considering the kind of dominant wins he’s put together recently.