Jeremy Stephens Demolishes Josh Emmett Amidst Controversy Over Potentially Illegal Shots

Jeremy Stephens earned his second straight knockout victory but not without some controversy along the way

Jeremy Stephens has found his groove again.

The prolific featherweight heavy hitter who has racked up more than his fair share of highlight reel finishes just added another one to his resume after demolishing Josh Emmett in the main event at UFC on FOX 28 from Orlando on Saturday night.

Now the knockout didn’t come without some controversy, however, after Stephens cracked Emmett with a thunderous left hook that initially dropped him to the ground during the second round.

As soon as Emmett hit the floor, Stephens was going for the finish, swinging wild with punches and elbows as referee Dan Miragliotta watched nearby.

Stephens uncorked two hellacious elbows that swung down at Emmett with at least one of the seemingly landing as an illegal blow to the back of the head. Still, Emmett was scrambling trying to get back to his feet and Stephens was throwing simultaneously so there was nothing intentional with the blow.

From there, Stephens then reared back for a huge knee strike while Emmett was still down on the ground, which was definitely illegal but upon further replay it didn’t appear that he connected with the shot. Once again, the referee let the fight continue and that’s when Stephens finally put Emmett away.

As Emmett finally got back to his feet, Stephens unleashed a huge uppercut that put his opponent back down on the ground. Stephens followed with a diving elbow strike that rendered Emmett completely unconscious as the referee rushed into to stop the fight.

After the event ended, Stephens stated several times that he did nothing to purposefully foul Emmett and followed the instructions of the referee from before and during the fight. While the potentially illegal shots were a big topic of conversation, Stephens didn’t want to lose sight on his third straight win and second consecutive knockout as he climbs back into title contention at 145 pounds.

“Dana [White], 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.”

With Frankie Edgar about to face Brian Ortega next weekend at UFC 22, it’s not likely that Stephens will get the next shot at featherweight champion Max Holloway but it’s entirely possibly he could be in line before the end of the year.

For now, Stephens will celebrate his second straight knockout victory — as well as a $50,000 bonus for ‘Performance of the Night’ — as he caps off UFC on FOX 28 with another jaw dropping finish.

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.