Josh Emmett may have torn his ACL in the first 15 seconds of his fight against Shane Burgos and he still managed to get a win after an absolute war in the UFC on ESPN 11 co-main event.
The back and forth battle tested both fighters but Emmett’s incredible power ultimately earned him a pair of knockdowns in the third round as he secured the unanimous decision. The judges scored the fight 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27 with Emmett winning his third straight fight overall.
“He’s a solid dude,” Emmett said about Burgos afterwards. “I think he’s going to do super well. He’s a tough guy. All the respect in the world. I knew it was going to be a hell of a fight.”
The featherweights were bonus hunting from the first exchange with Burgos charging forward like a bull and Emmett firing an overhand right that he was swinging like a sledgehammer. It appeared the knee injury came after Emmett hyperextended his left leg while trading shots with Burgos in the early going but he did his best to disguise the injury as he continued to throw heat behind every punch.
Burgos somehow managed to absorb Emmett’s powerful shots as he kept moving forward while targeting his opponent’s compromised leg. As much as his knee may have been bothering him, Emmett continued to look for the knockout but Burgos started to land more consistently as he upped his output.
As Burgos came out firing in the third round, Emmett made him pay with a quick counter left hand that put the New York native down on the mat for the first time.
A few moments later, Emmett came back over the top with another left hand that clubbed Burgos, dropping him to the canvas again. Just as he did before, Emmett jumped down to the floor looking to get the finish but Burgos’ unbelievable durability allowed him to survive.
While Emmett had to limp out of the octagon, the thrill of victory certainly outweighed the injury as he announces himself as a real contender in the 145-pound division.
“I’m tired of being the gatekeeper,” Emmett said after facing an opponent behind him in the UFC rankings. “I’m not fighting anyone else behind me anymore. I want a shot at that title eventually.