Although this fight wasn't initially intended to be on the UFC 296 main card, one Emmett vs Mitchell prediction we have right out of the gate is that this fight could end up being Saturday's fight of the night. Both Josh Emmett and Bryce Mitchell will enter the cage with something to prove, and are eager to include themselves in the featherweight title conversation. And if either one is able to win in impressive fashion — which we believe will be the case — they'll likely see themselves enter the top five of the UFC featherweight rankings.
Yet, before these fighters reach that point, they'll need to get through each other first — which any Josh Emmett vs Bryce Mitchell prediction knows is no easy task.
UFC 296: Emmett vs Mitchell Prediction
Josh Emmett Preview
Although Josh Emmett (18-4 record with eight finishes) is currently on a two fight losing skid, there is no shame in losing to the warriors that he has been matched up against of late. In fact, both of his last two losses — first to Yair Rodriguez and then to Ilia Topuria — earned those opponents title shots upon beating him; which proves that Emmett is still one of the world's best 145 pounders.
The best asset that Josh Emmett brings into the octagon is his power. Emmett might be the most powerful puncher in all of the UFC's featherweight division — which was put on full display during his knockout victory over Ricardo Lamas back in 2017.
While that fight was a long time ago, Emmett is just as powerful now as he was back then — and one Emmett vs Mitchell prediction we have is that Emmett's power should be the focus of his game plan Saturday. He should do everything he can to make Bryce Mitchell run into one of those punches — especially his overhand right, which is his best weapon. If Josh Emmett can do so, he'll most likely earn himself a nice Christmas bonus.
Bryce Mitchell Preview
Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell (16-1 record with nine submissions) has become a fan favorite in the past few years because of his authenticity, both inside the octagon and out of it. And that has never been more the case than right now, after taking this fight against Josh Emmett on short notice.
"When I got the call I was 20ft up on a ladder doing construction."— UFC News (@UFCNews) December 14, 2023
The opportunity was too good for Bryce Mitchell (@ThugnastyMMA) to pass up facing Josh Emmett at #UFC296 🔊🆙
Order UFC 296 ➡️: https://t.co/oMU9SfzTqx
There's no doubt that Mitchell is one of the best grapplers in the entire UFC — hence why he's the favorite in this fight. Although he suffered his first professional loss to Ilia Topuria last year, he soon made up for that loss by defeating Dan Ige in September by a dominant unanimous decision.
As with that last fight, expect Bryce Mitchell to try and drag Josh Emmett to the ground on Saturday, then start to whip through a slurry of submission attempts. Mitchell excels when he's the one in control, and can use his extensive grappling knowledge to overwhelm his opponents. This will certainly be his game plan come Saturday — and if our Emmett vs Mitchell prediction comes true, there's a good chance it will work out well for him.
Josh Emmett vs Bryce Mitchell: Thug Nasty's Dominant Display
Our official Emmett vs Mitchell prediction is that Bryce Mitchell wins by submission.
We believe that “Thug Nasty” — currently a -225 favorite — will put on a grappling masterclass in this fight against Josh Emmett. Mitchell's skillset is undeniable against inferior grapplers, and Emmett is exactly that. So long as Mitchell is able to dodge Emmett's power (which is not a guarantee), then he should have no problem getting a hold of him, bringing him to the ground, and throwing up a number of submissions; one of which should eventually stick. For that reason, we love Bryce Mitchell to win by submission, which is currently available at +350.
But we can't count out Josh Emmett. Nobody with the power potential he has is ever out of a fight. And considering that Mitchell will have to enter his striking range in order to execute his game plan, Emmett will have multiple opportunities to get his power punches off. We've seen multiple times before from Emmett that all it takes is one punch for him to put his opponent's lights out. For that reason, Josh Emmett to win by KO/TKO at +400 is an intriguing proposition.
Yet, we don't see that being the case. We know that Bryce Mitchell is incredibly tough, and it will probably take more than one punch to put him out. For that reason, we believe Bryce Mitchell will emerge victorious in the first fight of a stacked UFC 296 main card.
Bryce Mitchell has a golden opportunity to earn an exciting victory and insert himself into the title conversation on Saturday night. Will he be able to do so? We'll all just have to tune in to find out!