Ilia Topuria serves Emmett three-piece-and-a-soda in a one sided clash

Josh Emmett and Ilia Topuria are two featherweights known for their exceptional punching power. They clashed in a highly anticipated main event at UFC Jacksonville on Saturday.

Ilia Topuria aimed to further solidify his growing reputation. With a record that showcased finishes in nearly all his professional bouts, Topuria had garnered attention from global superstars like Sergio Ramos.

At just 26 years old, his explosive striking, powerful wrestling, and slick submission skills had earned him the title of the sport’s brightest prospect. A victory in this bout could potentially propel him into contention for a title shot against either current champion Alexander Volkanovski or top-ranked contender Max Holloway.

Both Volkanovski and Holloway had already defeated most of the other contenders in the division’s top seven. However, it should be noted that Emmett had not faced Volkanovski yet, so a win here would have placed him back in the title picture after his previous interim title loss to Yair Rodriguez.

As the bout began, the atmosphere in the arena was electric. Emmett quickly initiated the action with a series of punches, but he strategically maneuvered to the outskirts of the octagon, employing a common tactic.

He launched into brief three-punch combinations before swiftly retreating out of striking range. Topuria struggled to land effective counters in response to Emmett’s blitzes and initially had difficulty asserting control. Approximately eighty seconds into the round, both engaged in a flurry of punches, but none found their mark.

Topuria promptly capitalized on his strong suit by targeting the body—a notable aspect of his style. As the round progressed, Topuria’s pressure intensified, while Emmett’s explosive blitzes became less frequent and less effective. Topuria consistently employed his jab to measure distance and land precise strikes, causing Emmett’s eye to swell.

Whenever an opportunity arose, Topuria unleashed his offense. Most importantly, he maintained composure and showcased sharp defensive skills. While Emmett managed to land a few leg kicks, Topuria’s leg kicks carried significant power and forced Emmett to react. Emmett remained steadfast in his gameplan, constantly retreating and circling the octagon until he deemed it appropriate to explode forward with a combination. Within just two minutes, Topuria had established clear control over the cage, seemingly securing a 10-9 round by the time the round concluded.

In the second round, Emmett’s corner instructed him to counter Topuria’s “lazy jab” with overhand strikes. However, Topuria’s jab remained a potent weapon, and Emmett struggled to neutralize it effectively. Despite this, Emmett managed to land some solid strikes to the head and body and successfully avoided being backed against the fence for the initial part of the round. However, within a minute, Topuria regained control and imposed his will once again.

Both occasionally exchanged powerful punches in close quarters, but clean connections were rare, and neither man appeared to be significantly rocked or hurt until Topuria landed a powerful combination on Emmett with ninety seconds remaining.

Although Josh managed to regain his footing, he retaliated with a strong punch that momentarily forced Ilia to his knees, albeit seemingly due to a slip rather than a genuine knockdown. The accumulation of leg kicks began to take a toll on Emmett, and Topuria started to establish a clear advantage.

With just fifteen seconds left in the round, Emmett overcommitted and absorbed a massive punch that dropped him to his knees. Topuria attempted to secure the back and deliver strikes, but Emmett escaped and managed to regain his composure just as the round ended.

As the third round commenced, it was evident that Topuria had won the previous two rounds decisively, leaving Josh Emmett with the daunting task of needing to win every remaining round to secure a victory by decision. The twp traded blows in the center of the cage at the start of the round, with Emmett initially gaining the upper hand. However, he soon fell victim to a punishing leg kick that caused him to drop to one knee.

Emmett quickly retreated to the fence, where he remained for the majority of the round. By this point, his face displayed the damage inflicted by Topuria. Despite landing a significant left hook, Emmett found it challenging to counter Topuria’s control and suffered several punishing blows.

Nevertheless, Josh’s remarkable toughness was evident throughout the event. While Emmett did manage to land shots that have proven to be fatal for other opponents, Topuria displayed an iron chin. The left side of Josh Emmett’s face became a canvas of blood, with his left eye swollen and his left ear turning black. Once again, the third round belonged unequivocally to Ilia.

The fourth round saw Emmett take the initiative, pressuring Topuria for the first thirty seconds. However, Topuria swiftly reasserted his dominance. His jab remained a prominent weapon, further damaging Emmett’s face and disrupting his rhythm. At one point, Emmett absorbed a devastating leg kick while in a squatting position, causing his leg to turn an even deeper shade of purple. Remarkably, he remained standing and maintained his gameplan. Despite enduring significant punishment, Emmett displayed unwavering resolve and determination. Topuria clearly outclassed him.

With just eighty seconds left in the round, Topuria landed a powerful left hook that dropped Emmett to the canvas. Topuria pounced on his fallen opponent, delivering strikes from top position.

Topuria continued to land significant shots from a distance, and with thirty-five seconds remaining, another powerful strike sent Emmett crashing down. Topuria secured full mount and unleashed hammerfists until Emmett turned to his belly after receiving a warning from the referee to stay active. Topuria then attempted a RNC, but the bell rang before he could secure the submission.

Throughout the final round, Josh primarily relied on overhand strikes from both hands and stances. Although he had a strong start, few of his punches found their mark. However, midway through the round, he successfully executed a potent body-head combination. In response, Topuria executed a powerful takedown, securing the top position in half guard.

While Emmett managed to get to his knee against the fence, Topuria maintained control, pressing against him and delivering knee strikes to the thigh. Emmett attempted a Granby roll, followed by another when Topuria failed to disengage. Despite their scrambling across the entire octagon, Topuria’s grappling prowess was evident as he remained firmly attached to Emmett. In fact, the scramble concluded with Topuria securing a back mount with both hooks, which he maintained until the round’s end.

When the final bell rang, it came as no surprise that the scorecards overwhelmingly favored Topuria. The judges awarded him several 10-8 rounds, resulting in a unanimous decision victory for Ilia Topuria, with scores of 50-44, 50-42, and 49-45. Topuria wasted no time in calling for a title shot, a sentiment echoed by Daniel Cormier.

Official Result: Ilia Topuria defeats Josh Emmett via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-42, 49-45).