Emmett emerging as finisher with TKO win over Bektic
Tri-Star’s Mirsad Bektic (13-1) enters this bout as a slight favorite over Team Alpha Male’s Josh Emmett (14-2). Bektic has had a strong start in his UFC campaign with his only loss coming from a last round KO to Darren Elkins and half of his wins coming from early finishes including a Fight of The Night performance bonus for his body shot TKO over Godofredo Pepey. He shares a victory with Josh Emmett over a mutual opponent in Ricardo Lamas, although Emmet boasts a first round KO in comparison to Bektics split decision. Emmett is now emerging as a finisher himself with early KOs victories over Michael Johnson and Lamas.
It begins early as a striking affair on the The feet, with both having strong wrestling and reluctant to expend energy on the ground early on. Emmett shows good footwork, head and shoulder movement. He is confident with his movement in The pocket, maintaining motion without conceding dominance of the octagon. As josh’s corner calls for the movement to the right Bektic tries to take advantage and firing low kicks to the lead leg, anticipating Emmett to walk into his shots. Bektics intent was never quite realized with his creativity and timing limiting the preemptive strikes against a sharp and spry Emmett.
While both are stubborn In the center and swinging hard, mixing in head kicks, Bektic tends to drop his hands after power combos, leaving him exposed to the counter. Emmett identifies this and capitalizes on the window early in the very first round to stun Bektic and drop him back onto his butt on the canvas. Bektic desperately clings to a single leg in safety as he is battered from above.
It is Emmett’s wrestling that man handles the dazed, scrambling bektic, allowing the killer instinct emerge and begin his finishing sequence. Emmett is able to maintain constistant ground and pound while controlling Bektics back and hip movement. On his knees and turtled up, trying to seperate from persistent strikes, Bektic assumes a path to escape and to regain composure may be opening, but Emmett senses the finish and ratchets up his attack from behind.
It is with the back that josh is able to dial in a precise right hook from behind and again drop an already grounded target. Bektic visibly flops, momentarily flashes into limp deadweight, in reaction the second stunner, falling under Emmett. Bektic never had a chance to recover from the initial blow as Emmett sensed the blood in the water and swarmed over Bektic, never waiting and picking his shots that weren’t available, but consistent ground and pound knowing that soon the waving hands and braids of Mike Beltran would soon come ripping through to stop the exchange. While maintaining the attack Josh used his wrestling to always keep a dazed Bektic vulnerable and manipulate his posture to always be in a position of controlled offense.
As Emmett puts the pieces together and finds his identity in the octagon with his last 3 wins by KO finishes we are witnessing an impressive call to form only marginally blemished with his second round KO loss to a Jeremy Stephens who nearly succumbed to Emmett’s power shots in the first round. With those positives to take away from the loss against an equally surging Stephens and a rebound KO Win it goes to show that Emmett is earning his place amoung the top half of the division.
Emmett has established himself as a threat in a top half of a very interesting featherweight divison although there are very interesting match ups with the three ranked immediately below him in Calvin Kattar, Ryan Hall and Shane Burgos, but after defeating an opponent ranked two spots below him in the #12 ranked Bektic, it’s time for Josh to look upwards in the rankings for his next bout. With many of those ranked above him already looking to be booked before the year is out, look for Josh to be matched with a top ten contender coming off a loss as the dust settles on the top five.
He sustained no injuries in this bout so also don’t be too surprised to see him fill in on short notice on a big card. This really is only the beginning for Emmett as he has positioning himself for a chance to test himself against the biggest names in the division.