By Jay Anderson
A rough 2020 for Josh Emmett saw the featherweight coping with a knee injury, plus the loss of both his brother and grandfather. Which made his return at UFC 269 an emotional moment for the Team Alpha Male athlete, as he went up against Hawaii’s Dan Ige.
It didn’t take long for the powerful Emmett to make his presence felt on Saturday. Roughly a minute in, and Emmett floored Ige, who dropped with his back to the fence. Ige survived, however, and managed to take Emmett down as he got back to his feet. Emmett, however, reversed; the pair would get back up, with Ige having a noticeable wobble in his step, still recovering from the earlier knockdown.
The pair would then settle in in the middle of the octagon, Ige keeping his guard high. The pair would trade, with Ige adding in a high kick that was blocked. They’d go back and forth to the end of the round.
Ige put his technical striking on display early in the second. He switched stances, slipped punches, then just past a minute in, dropped for a takedown attempt that Emmett stuffed. That allowed Emmett to go on the offensive, but he was countered with a left hook by Ige. That turned out to be the most significant strike of the round. The remainder of the frame would play out on the feet, both men getting their shots in, but Ige, having recovered from the knockdown in the first, appeared to have found his distance and timing.
There was a strong possibility that the fight would come down to who won the third round. Emmett continued to be the aggressor, Ige countering. A left hand by Emmett caught Ige about a minute and a half in, but Ige retreated and appeared no worse for the wear. Emmett showed plenty of feints, but had his hands low and was loading up on his punches. Ige, in contrast, was working his jab, staying mobile, and keeping his guard up.
In the end, they’d go the distance, with all three judges scoring the fight for Emmett (with one, rather puzzlingly, scoring the second for Emmett for a 30-27).
Official Result: Josh Emmett def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Originally appeared on https://cagesidepress.com/2021/12/11/ufc-269-josh-emmett-vs-dan-ige/