The power is still there for Jeremy Stephens. The UFC veteran of 28 fights showed again on Saturday night in Orlando why he is one of the toughest fighters in the company when he dropped Josh Emmett in the second round before scrambling to finish things off with a flurry of punches.
The perennial title contender looked a little sluggish in the first round when Emmett was able to catch him with a counter right hand. But Stephens came back with a vengeance in the second and floored Emmett with this left hook.
Stephens also came into question immediately after the fight for what looked to be an illegal knee and illegal elbows to the back of the head. Stephens defended his actions after the fight.
"Ref Dan Miragliotta said this is the new unified rules, that if two hands are down you can lift one hand up to knee. That's OK, so if he's on his knees and one hand is up, it's OK to throw a knee, Stephens said. "I'm not a dirty fighter, never have been my whole life. I saw an opportunity, I was looking for it. I don't even think I landed the knee. It was the left hook that dropped him."
Stephens dropped to his knees after the fight to beg UFC president Dana White to give him a shot at the 145-pound title next.
"Dana, give me my title shot. please give me my title shot, there's only three guys in front of me," Stephens said. "Please give me my shot."
Stephens (28-14, 19 KOs) has now scored consecutive knockout victories for the first time in his UFC career.
"Now we know who the hardest hitting 145-er is baby," Stephens said. "You cannot break me, I'm unbreakable. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career, never give up."
Check out the rest of the highlights from UFC on Fox 28 below.
UFC on Fox 28 results
Jessica Andrade def. Tecia Torres via unanimous decision
Andrade showed once again why she's considered one of the best at 115 pounds on Saturday. The former title contender got all she could handle from Torres, but proved to be that much better and stronger than her opponent, scoring three monstrous takedowns over the course of the 15-minute bout -- including this thing of beauty.
Andrade (18-6) is hoping the impressive win will get her another shot at the strawweight title. She is now 5-1 in UFC since 2016 and looks as complete as ever in the Octagon.
Ilir Latifi def. Ovince Saint Preux via first-round submission
It's time for the Latifi to get the bump. The Swede made quick work of Saint Preux on Saturday night in Orlando, landing 32 strikes in the first round before finishing the fight with a brutal standing choke. Latifi dropped Saint Preux after with a pair of left hooks before he was able to get ahold of his neck and lock in the submission, leaving Saint Preux unconscious in the Octagon.
After getting the win, Latifi went immediately over to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier sitting cageside to plead his case for a title shot. Cormier didn't have much to say right away, but Latifi made a pretty strong case with his performance. He's 5-1 in his last six fights with his only loss coming against Ryan Bader, now the Bellator MMA light heavyweight champ.
Max Griffin def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision
The biggest underdog of the night pulled off the biggest upset. Griffin, who many considered a feature opponent for Perry, showed why he has some pop at 170 pounds as well. Griffin came in patient and waited for Perry to drop his hands low before executing his strikes, leading to a cut on Perry about 15 seconds into the first round.
Perry managed to scramble to a takedown before the end of the first, but Griffin clearly made his presence known. Then in the second, Griffin dropped Perry with a vicious left hand. Somehow, Perry scrambled to his feet.
Although bloodied and battered in the final round, Perry found some pop and landed a headkick and hook that pressed Griffin up against the cage. However, he was unable to capitalize and finish things off, leading to the decision win for Griffin. Griffin is now 14-4 and 2-2 in the UFC.
The highlight of the night came in the first fight of the prelims when Alan Joubanin Ben Saunders with a vicious left hook. After that, things slowed a bit with Angela Hill grinding out a unanimous decision win over Maryna Moroz. Then. Marion Reneau came back from the dead to score an upset win over Sara McMann with a triangle choke in the second round. McMann had Reneau in trouble early in the first round before Reneau set up a nasty punch to take the fight to the ground.
In the final prelim fight, Brian Kelleher picked apart Renan Barao for an impressive unanimous decision win over the former champion. Kelleher struggled a bit to find the distance in the opening two rounds, but exploded forward in the final two minutes, throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Barao before the final bell.
Kelleher (19-8) is hoping to get a shot at John Lineker in his next fight.