UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs. Topuria (aka UFC on ABC 5) comes to us from Jacksonville, FL this weekend. The fight card may deliver some fun fights between up-and-comers and a few wily vets, but… will anyone notice? We’ve been in a pretty rough stretch of cards lately with the UFC clearly just trying to feed the ESPN schedule with as much affordable talent as possible.

Even so, our staff have looked over this UFC fight night card and have decided who they think will win. In the main event, which features UFC featherweight title hopefuls Josh Emmett and Ilia Topuria, our staff is mostly siding with the explosive Georgian.

The co-main event has Amanda Ribas taking on Maycee Barber. Rather surprisingly, all of us but Chris are picking Ribas to defeat the young American prospect.

You can see the rest of our UFC fight night picks below. Please tell us yours in the comments!

UFC Fight Night: Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria cold open.

UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs. Topuria picks

Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria

Anton: Josh Emmett has power and the great equalizer, but he’s getting more predictable and doesn’t have as many layers to his striking game as Ilia Topuria. There’s also the fact that Topuria hits very hard as well, and is more likely to be the one to have better setups to land those big shots first. Ilia Topuria by TKO.

Chris: The young gun Ilia Topuira is going to try to make a statement by stopping Josh Emmett and while he’s got the skills, you don’t run face first into a wood-chipper. Also the coin said Emmett so I had to come up with some rationale. 

Eddie: I bet mostly everyone is picking Ilia Topuria to remain undefeated, but hear me out. Aside to Max Holloway, who has the next best hands in the UFC’s heavyweight division? A strong argument could be made for Josh Emmett, who has already proven himself among his fellow contenders. He also has a wrestling base, but he chooses to stand, so it’s hard for me to see anyone at 145-pounds having an easy time getting him down. 

Just two-fights ago for Topuria, he viciously slept Jai Herbert. But if you remember correctly, not only did he lose that first round, but he almost got knocked out, too. Ilia loves to punch his way into the pocket, and is often open for extended exchanges there. That’s exactly where Emmett wants to be, too, so we might just end up getting repeated car crashes on the feet. If Topuira struggles to get the takedown, and I think that he will, then I see Emmett having all the time he needs to do damage. Josh Emmett by standing TKO in round 3

Victor: Ilia Topuria is a future title challenger, yet he’s got some growth to go through. Josh Emmett’s got the power, wrestling, and veteran savvy to edge this out. Topuria fights smart and has a lot of athleticism and technique, and Emmett’s counters and takedowns will make this a challenge that may be a bit much for him right now. 

Bissell: I think we’ve seen Josh Emmett’s ceiling at this point and that his game doesn’t offer many surprises. Ilia Topuria, on the other hand, feels like he has levels beyond what we’ve seen and has the propensity for doing something unexpected (and vicious) on any given night. Ilia Topuria via TKO.

Zane: I am worried about Illia Topuria in this fight. My baseline read is that his combination of technical pocket punching, aggression, confidence, and wrestling will put Emmett in a fire fight where he has the clear power to do damage, but is more likely to get cracked first. For all the danger he represents, Emmett tends to have his best success when opponents are too wary of him to force him to have to brawl. Still, Topuria has never really faced someone that could potentially simply out-punch him. And he’s been stung before by less heavy-handed fighters. I’ll take Topuria by TKO, round 2, but he’s likely to have a very very dangerous time getting there.

Staff picking Emmett: Chris, Eddie, Victor
Staff picking Topuria: Ben, Dayne, Kristen, Jack, Lucas, Stephie, Anton, Bissell, Zane

Amanda Ribas vs. Maycee Barber

Anton: Barber should have better physicality, but Ribas is probably just the better fighter. Amanda Ribas by Decision.

Chris: Barber is good, but she has consistently come up short whenever she fights someone with a second layer of grit, or veteran guile. Ribas is that fighter and handed losses to dynamic upstarts like Mackenzie Dern and Paige Van Zant. Look for her to add Barber to the list. Also the coin said Ribas. 

Eddie: If laser beams could bend, they’d be the punches of Amanda Ribas. It might not be the prettiest technique out there, but everything she throws seems to sting. It doesn’t feel like Amanda is competing, as much as she’s fighting. She’s definitely a dog, but so is Maycee. I’m concerned that the way Ribas leaves herself exposed while she’s throwing is going to leave herself open to some clever power counters from Barber (Elbows, head kicks). I can’t trust Barber to stop the takedown, but I do think she’ll do the most damage on the feet. Maycee Barber by split decision

Victor: Barber’s main assets coming into the UFC was running forward and battering opponents against the cage. It’s when she started fighting opponents that she couldn’t take down or actually implemented layered striking and lateral movement that she got the brakes slammed on her. And look, she’s good at what she does, but what we’ve seen is also very limited.

Enter Amanda Ribas, who isn’t very quick on her feet but has a solid Judo base and ferocious ground strikes. As long as Amanda doesn’t fall into the trap of backing straight up with her chin in the air, she should take this. Amanda Ribas by decision.

Bissell: Barber has a great motor and mean intentions, but I think Ribas has enough craftiness to confuse and frustrate the young American. If Barber can’t control herself, I think she’ll put her head or arm somewhere she can’t get it out of. Amanda Ribas by submission.

Zane: There’s a solid chance that Barber can just kinda mash Ribas to the cage, slow her down, and squeak out otherwise close rounds where Ribas fails to take the smartest path to a win. But given Ribas’ speed, her grappling ability, and her confidence as a puncher, I expect Barber to meet a lot of danger wherever she goes. Barber also isn’t much of a defensive wrestler, and Ribas’ takedown game can be very slick. Amanda Ribas by decision.

Staff picking Ribas: Chris, Ben, Dayne, Kristen, Jack, Lucas, Victor, Stephie, Anton, Bissell, Zane
Staff picking Barber: Eddie

Justin Tafa vs. Austen Lane

Victor: Man, imagine if Austen Lane had beaten Greg Hardy back in the day. He should have won, on paper. He’s a great athlete, closes the distance quickly, hits hard and sprawls fast. But he also gets blasted by big punchers, and that’s kind of a problem against one of the hardest hitters in the division.

Tafa isn’t that quick on his feet and will struggle with takedowns from better wrestlers, and I’m not sure Lane is on that level. So expect a lot of pawing and feinting, lots of clinching and pressing against the fence. That’s unless Justin can nail Austen early and get him out of there in the first frame. And that’s likely to happen. Justin Tafa by KO.

Zane: Austen Lane has a ton of raw athletic ability, but he skills in every area are extremely unpolished. If he were technical enough to stay on 1-2s and low kicks, I might pick him to win for speed alone. But the moment he starts throwing more than one strike at a time, he collapses the pocket into clinch & punching range. Without a significant wrestling game, that seems like it’ll make him a prime target to get lit up on the counter. Justin Tafa via KO, round 1.

Staff picking Tafa: Chris, Ben, Eddie, Dayne, Victor,Lucas, Jack, Stephie, Anton, Zane
Staff picking Lane: Kristen

David Onama vs. Gabriel Santos

Victor: This is a “don’t blink” fight, because both of these guys got a knack for finishes. Santos just has a few more jaw-droppers, even if the Brazilian scene can be something of a mixed bag. Onama has a more well-rounded game with his wrestling, but needs to be wary of the submission arsenal Santos has. Well, that and Santos’ razor-sharp striking. Shit, this one sucks to pick. I’ll take a flyer on Onama. 

Chris: I’m extremely interested in seeing how Onama bounces back from his loss to Nate Landwehr. That was one of the best fights of 2022, but a serious hurdle for Onama.

Bissell: Onama has height and reach and Octagon experience over Santos. I think he’ll style on him and cruise to a decision. David Onama via decision.

Zane: Onama is a world of fun, but he has no patience or control to his game at all. Santos is the new kid on the block, but impressed everywhere on exceptionally short notice against a more calculating, more technical Lerone Murphy last time out. Hell, Santos even had an argument to make that he won that fight. Last time he was in the cage, Onama made Nate Landwehr look the picture of composure and thoughtful gameplanning. I don’t think that bodes well for Onama here. Gabriel Santos by decision.

Staff picking Onama: Chris, Eddie, Kristen, Jack, Victor, Stephie, Bissell
Staff picking Santos: Ben, Dayne, Lucas, Anton, Zane

Brendan Allen vs. Bruno Silva

Victor: Bruno got a tendency to have some weird brain farts, and I’m getting the impression Brendan’s turning a corner here. Brendan Allen by submission. 

Chris: I thought Brendan Allen would have gotten a better opponent or card placement after his performance against Andre Muniz, but here we are. 

Zane: This should be an exceptionally winnable fight for Allen. He’s an entire world better than Silva on the mats, he is a more structural, consistent striker, and lately he’s been looking a lot better about defending and absorbing shots. That said, Silva always has that one-hitter quitter in him. Still, if Meerschaert could avoid that, I think Allen can too. Brendan Allen by submission, round 3.

Staff picking Allen: Chris, Ben, Eddie, Dayne, Kristen, Jack, Lucas, Victor, Anton, Zane
Staff picking Silva: Stephie

Neil Magny vs. Philip Rowe

Victor: Yikes. I trust Magny to beat back a younger and fresher prospect, and Rowe did lose to another relatively green guy in Gabe Green. And after writing that sentence, I realize how goofy that looks with the color thing. I regret nothing. Rowe shouldn’t win this on paper, but he’s got the reach, power, and might have the takedown defense to give Neil some fits. An upset here would be bonkers and a major, major step up for Rowe. But I’m not feeling that reckless to pull the trigger on that pick right here. Neil Magny by decision.

Bissell: I don’t think Neil Magny is at the stage of his career where he just loses to anybody, yet. He’s one of the most tenured vets in the promotion for the reason, he knows how to stay in fights and get wins (especially over those who can’t keep up or are smart enough to adjust on the fly). Rowe may very well be able to hang with Magny, but I predict this gatekeeper is too much, too soon for him. Neil Magny by decision.

Chris: The coin says Rowe so that’s where I’ve got to go but given free will I’d go Magny all day. 

Victor: Yikes. I trust Magny to beat back a younger and fresher prospect, and Rowe did lose to another relatively green guy in Gabe Green. And after writing that sentence, I realize how goofy that looks with the color thing. I regret nothing. Rowe shouldn’t win this on paper, but he’s got the reach, power, and might have the takedown defense to give Neil some fits. An upset here would be bonkers and a major, major step up for Rowe. But I’m not feeling that reckless to pull the trigger on that pick right here. Neil Magny by decision.

Staff picking Magny: Ben, Eddie, Dayne, Kristen, Lucas, Jack, Victor, Stephie, Anton, Bissell, Zane
Staff picking Rowe: Chris

Randy Brown vs. Wellington Turman

Victor: Turman dropping back down to welterweight is kinda weird to me. It seems his ceiling has been defined, while Brown’s might be close to being concrete as well. But Brown still seems…

To read the rest of our UFC Fight Night: Emmett vs. Topruria staff picks head on over to Substack. Now that Bloody Elbow is a fully independent site the best way to support us, so that we can continue fearless coverage of combat sports, is to pick up a paid subscription. Paid subscribers help fund other exclusive content like editorials from Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden and investigations by John S. Nash.

Leader board

Dayne has fallen back to third in our leader board, despite having a winning record for UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier. His 6-5 was trumped by Anton’s 8-3 and Eddie’s amazing 10-1 record (Salihov over Dalby being his only miss). The pressure is on Dayne now, who had been leading every week but one prior to this, to make up ground with UFC Fight Night: Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria. Dayne and Eddie are on opposite sides for the main event, Eddie has Josh Emmett, while Dayne is siding with Ilia Topuria.

PositionStafferCorrectIncorrectTotal Picks%Picks BackWeek 19 Record
1 (▲1)Eddie144942380.60510-1
2 (▲1)Anton141972380.59238-3
3 (▼2)Dayne141972380.59236-5
4 (-)Zane1351032380.56798-3
5 (-)Stephie131962270.577137-4
6 (-)Kristen1301082380.546147-4
7 (-)Lucas1191072260.527256-5
8 (-)Bissell1171212380.492276-5
9 (-)Chris1101182280.482344-7
10 (▲1)Victor81721530.529637-4
11 (▼1)BE Community79671460.541654-5
12 (-)Jack61521130.540836-5
13 (-)Ben155100.6001299-1

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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