Josh Emmett vs Shane Burgos
Josh Emmett (+115) (15-2-0)
Emmett comes in to this fight on a two-fight win streak, bouncing back from a tough loss to Jeremy Stephens in 2018 with a couple of excellent knockout victories against Mirsad Bektic and Michael Johnson. The Johnson knockout in the 3rd round was even more impressive as the fight seemed to be slipping away from Emmett after the 2nd round. Johnson was taking control and finding his range but Emmett proved he only needs one shot to put the lights out. Emmett went on to finish a bounce back 2019 by putting away another tough guy Mirsad Bektic, in the first round. At age 35, Emmett probably has one more chance to take a run at the title and a decisive victory here over Burgos would go a long way to getting him that shot.
Shane Burgos (-145) (13-1-0)
Burgos is also following up on a 2-0 2019, finally working his way into the featherweight top 10. He put together an impressive performance over the UFC veteran Cub Swanson, followed by knocking out Makwan Amirkhani in the 3rd round. Burgos has incredible size and strength for this division and is also extremely well conditioned. However, he does tend to fight with his hands down and often leaves himself exposed defensively. It’s cost him once already against Calvin Kattar and Emmett will be eager to see if he’s learned his lesson. Yet if Burgos can secure the win over Emmett, the surging featherweight would see himself that much closer to a title shot in a crowded UFC featherweight division.
Prediction: Josh Emmett via 3rd Round KO
This matchup has Fight of the Night written all over it. Burgos and Emmett both pack a ton of power and both also have excellent chins. Burgos will have a 4 inch height advantage and a nearly 6 inch reach advantage. His striking is very sharp, he throws a ton of volume, and he doesn’t gas out. As I mentioned before, Burgos does keep his hands down and Emmett certainly has the power to capitalize on that. Burgos has also been susceptible to takedowns and it could be a good idea for Emmett to mix that in to his attack and give him something else to worry about. However, I see this fight taking place primarily at striking range with two fighters that aren’t afraid to stand in the pocket. I just think Burgos leaves himself a bit too open defensively. He takes a lot of shots and he’s been able to get away with it against guys like Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani, but Emmett packs a special punch and I expect him to find the kill switch towards the end.