UFC 284 Scouting Report: Josh Emmett

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At UFC 284, the two best fighters in the world today will face off when lightweight champion Islam Makchaev defends his belt against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. In a normal event that would be more than enough to sell a pay-per-view but the UFC decided to load this card up with a second title fight.

In their version of a tournament of sorts, the UFC has Josh Emmett battling Yair Rodriguez for the interim featherweight title. The winner will be expected to face off against Volkanovski regardless of how his bout goes and either matchup would be a new challenge for the champion. 

UFC 284 - ESPN+

In the case of Josh Emmett however, he has taken the long road to get here. After being close to a title shot in 2017, he would miss weight in a bout before getting knocked out and suffering a broken jaw in another. Since then he has won five straight, with two coming by way of knockout, and with a win here he can finally realize his dream.

Stand-Up Offense and Defense 

To start with the offensive side of his striking, Josh Emmett relies on his power to set the tone for his standup. He uses a lot of overhand right and hooks to try and land the power shot on his opponent. He uses a stiff jab to set the tone with his power and to break the guard of his opponents but no matter what it all comes back to his right hand.

Now if you are looking for what he does with his defense it isn’t much, to be honest. He has a wide stance and doesn’t move his head very much while also leaning heavily on his lead leg. If he wants this fight to go his way he needs to work on leaning on that lead leg otherwise Yair Rodriguez will chop it right out from under him.

Grappling Offense and Defense 

Despite Emmett’s history with wrestling in college and earning a world championship in no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a blue belt, he doesn’t use any grappling for offense. Against Rodriguez, he could win this fight if he dragged him into deep water and ground things out. However, that couldn’t be further from his style at this point.

Right now you will see his grappling whenever he has to stuff a takedown or if he ends up losing positions against the cage. The style he uses is very old school and reminiscent of Chuck Liddell where he too was a college wrestler and was fine as a grappler. He would just use his grappling to keep things standing due to it being where he felt he had his best chances of winning, Emmett is in that same boat.

Finishing Ability 

Emmett absolutely has one-touch power in his right hand and has shown if he doesn’t knock you out he will just repeatedly hurt you. In 18 wins he has just eight wins by stoppage with six being by way of knockout. In his last five fights he has two knockouts specifically and in the other three we saw decisions that were closer than they should have been. He falls in love with the power he possesses and it almost becomes a crutch and if his opponent doesn’t fall he appears to question it and that is when problems arise.

Summary of Josh Emmett

Josh Emmett has overcome adversity and naysayers to earn this interim shot against Yair Rodriguez. Emmett will be relying on his right hand to bail him out of any adversity he may face this go around. Rodriguez has shown he can take a lot of damage but has he taken too much? His chin will be tested but Emmett needs to utilize his wrestling and not just his power.

His best chance is to take Rodriguez down and use that power on the ground where Rodriguez won’t be able to use his kicks and keep the distance. It will be very interesting to see what the game plan ends up being, which makes the idea of this fight that much more interesting.


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