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UFC Jacksonville: Emmett vs. Topuria Main Event Prediction

UFC Jacksonville: Emmett vs. Topuria Main Event Prediction

UFC JACKSONVILLE: EMMETT VS. TOPURIA MAIN EVENT PREDICTION – I’m always fascinated when we have a scorching hot prospect take on a veteran who was recently on the wrong end of a title fight. It’s a true test for the prospect to see if they are the real deal right now or need a veteran test to hit the drawing board again and come back stronger.

Josh Emmett came up short in his interim title fight against Yair Rodriguez earlier this year, which snapped a five-fight winning streak, he looks to get back on track this weekend.

Ilia Topuria has been nothing short of impressive since making his UFC debut, collecting five straight wins since entering the big show. His biggest test yet comes this weekend.

Will the power punching style of Emmett score him another knockout this weekend? Or will Topuria’s hype train steam through Jacksonville on route to a number one contender matchup? Read on to find out how these high-level featherweights match up and how we can attack it from a betting perspective.

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DraftKings

Josh Emmett

Long overlooked in the division, Emmett’s five-fight winning streak finally earned him a shot at gold back in February against Yair Rodriguez. The 38-year-old was reaching the twilight of his career and there was no better time to give it to him.

Unfortunately, the movement, kicks, and jiu jitsu game of Rodriguez triumphed and Emmett had a long flight back home without the gold he desired.

Emmett’s Evolving Style

Originally known for his wrestling, Emmett showcased his power striking style to batter his opponents and knock three of them out.

He lacks a bit of technique with his striking, but makes up for it with his power. Consequently, the damage and impact he lands with his striking and the consistency of him throwing his output make him a dangerous fighter.

It’s a big danger zone for fighters when they crash the pocket against Emmett because they usually get hurt very badly. That was evident in the fight against Shane Burgos, especially with Burgos being technically the better striker. Emmett hurt him multiple times, recorded two knockdowns, and battered him on route to a decision victory.

Age has not slowed Emmett, but his last fight is an example of what his ceiling is, at this point of his career.

FUN My Pillow

Ilia Topuria

I remember stumbling on Topuria when I started digging into regional MMA back in 2018. He was set to make his lone Cage Warriors appearance by challenging for their title. Until that point, he had mainly competed on the regional scene in Spain except for one fight in Finland.

The Grappling

He was a grapple-heavy fighter with strong wrestling and a crushing top game. His striking was still far behind the rest of his game, but he made do. It was eventually a short notice opportunity that brought Topuria to the UFC where he defeated Youssef Zalal in his least impressive performance with the promotion.

That was the launching pad for him to gather his next four wins all by finish, which has now lined him up for this headlining showcase bout against another top featherweight.

Striking Power

Topuria was mainly known for his grappling and jiu jitsu black belt, before he discovered the power and technique in his striking. I don’t think we’ve seen his complete game yet because of how he is starching guys on the feet.

When he must go back to his bread and butter of grappling, then I think we’ll see how good he can be. He mainly trains out of his own gym in Spain but has also spent time down at Kill Cliff FC. At only 26 years old, the sky is the limit for his potential and success. How quickly depends on his result this weekend.

The Pick

The glaring concern here for Topuria is seeing him nearly get finished by Jai Herbert two fights back.

Emmett uncorks absolute bombs in his punches and can put anyone away. In 12 UFC bouts, Emmett has recorded 11 knockdowns. Topuria has the crisper striking technique, and he has enough power to put Emmett down too.

The big difference here will be Topuria’s ability on the mat, which he may need to lean on. Getting Emmett down could be difficult. Don’t let Emmett’s 58% takedown defense rate fool you, he has only been taken down once since 2017.

This fight will be a barn burner on the feet. This could lead to a finish by one of the fighters. It’s hard to justify laying the juice on Topuria considering this is his biggest test to date. And we can’t count out the big punching power of Emmett.

Thus, I think taking the juice on violence here is not a bad way to go. The widely available under 2.5 sits around -220 on most books, feel free to toss it into a parlay if you like.

Under 2.5 -220

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