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UFC Austin, The Morning After: Josh Emmett’s visceral power sways the judges

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Look, if you scored last night’s main event of Josh Emmett vs. Calvin Kattar for “The Boston Finisher,” I’m not here to argue with you. That’s not the point of the article. My associations and bias regarding this match up are well-known, so that would be a pretty boring and pointless debate.

More to the actual point: Josh Emmett hits hard. Statistically, he’s dropped opponents at a really high rate, and he has the highlight reel to back up this simple observation. Everyone knows this about Emmett.

The problem, however, is that this statement doesn’t quite explain the full situation. It’s a bit like describing a ghost pepper as hot. Sure, it’s an objectively true and obvious statement, but if you’ve never bitten into one, there’s no actual understanding of the fiery topic at hand.

Such is the case with Josh Emmett’s punching power. The ESPN broadcast does not accurately translate the speed, power and impact of each Emmett right hand, liver shot or step-in jab. The difference is that of a live rock concert versus a scratched CD played through a crappy car stereo. To truly understand the depth and richness of these collisions, one has to stand in front of Emmett and take his blows.

Now, I wouldn’t advise that path. Even when Emmett is holding himself back and touch sparring with a Flyweight, I can assure you those lefts to the body still suck miserably. The closest alternative to actually fighting with Emmett is to be in the same room with the boxer as he works, and that experience I would highly recommend.

When Emmett hits mitts, the air electrifies with intensity. The crack and boom of every combination seems to grow more thunderous, and like an incoming storm, those crashes start getting more and more rapid. The impacts are simply enormous.

Viewers at home don’t get to appreciate these collisions, but the judges do. Every time Emmett bursts forward and fires a four-punch combination, it’s more than noticeable. Emmett’s glancing blows are impactful, and his clean lands are visceral and sickening. No one is denying that Kattar landed plenty of sharp jabs, but when judges watch Emmett land ungodly hard punches from just several feet away, it’s not all that surprising that his shots are more memorable.

We’ve seen this before with Emmett. In the third round of his bout with Dan Ige last time out, Ige’s active jab met Emmett’s explosive power. There was a fair percentage of fans online who scored the bout for Ige, but all three judges who sat cageside went the way of the Californian.

Those thuds are just different in real life.

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