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UFC Fight Night prediction — Edson Barboza vs. Lerone Murphy: Fight card, start time, odds, live stream

One of mixed martial arts’ most prolific strikers looks to fend off another hungry up-and-comer at UFC Fight Night on Saturday. Edson Barboza vs. Lerone Murphy headlines the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Barboza (24-11) is in his 15th year as a professional MMA fighter. The veteran striker — whose spinning wheel kick of Terry Etim in 2012 is still arguably the greatest KO in UFC history — continues his featherweight reinvention after a career primarily at 155 pounds. Barboza fights for a third consecutive time against an up-and-coming contender after wins against Sodiq Yusuff and Billy Quarantillo. At 38 years old, Barboza likely won’t attain that elusive UFC title shot. But three consecutive wins should answer his call for a top 10 opponent.

“When you get older, there’s a higher chance you get younger opponents…” Barboza told CBS Sports. “Anybody in the top 10 [next] would be great. Everybody knows me. I never pick an opponent. I fight anybody. Just give me somebody. Most of the time, I’ve fought someone behind me in the rankings.”

Murphy (13-0-1) admits his first UFC main event is a fraud check. The undefeated fighter takes on his most experienced and accomplished opponent yet. Headlining a UFC card is a remarkable achievement for Murphy and a reminder of how far he’s coming after nearly losing his life. Murphy was the victim of a gang-affiliated shooting at age 21. The future fighter was struck once in the face and twice in the neck. He still has a shard of bullet in his tongue and has prosthetic teeth. It was a crossroads moment that paved the way for Murphy to explore MMA.

“I’m dead. I thought I was dead,” Murphy told CBS Sports. “I thought it was over. Everything happened in slow motion. It’s like in the films when the barrel turns and you see it in slow motion.”

“It was a great decision [starting MMA] and I feel like it’s destiny. Obviously, we don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday but now I feel like I can help provide a bit for my family and do good things. My mom is obviously worried about me fighting but she’s not worried about me leaving the house every day, wondering if she’ll never see me again. I’m in a much better place now mentally and physically.”

Check out the full interview with Lerone Murphy below.

Adrian Yanez vs. Vinicius Salvador is one of the more interesting main card fights this weekend. Expectations were high for Yanez after piecing together a nine-fight winning streak with seven knockouts. Consecutive stoppage losses to ranked UFC featherweights Rob Font and Jonathan Martinez brought the hype to a screeching halt. Yanez has phenomenal boxing and showing it off against Salvador is critical to improving his image.

“I’m really excited to showcase myself and get myself back into the win column,” Yanez told CBS Sports. “I want to show you all that I am the one. I know how I personally feel but I need to prove it to you all… I’m going to go out there, knockout Vinicius and eek my way back into the rankings.”

The rest of the undercard features some intriguing matchups. Khaos Williams is set for a welterweight showdown with Carlson Harris. Viral sensation Themba Gorimbo is set for his return to the Octagon when he takes on Ramiz Brahimaj in a welterweight battle. And veteran women’s strawweight Angela Hill is back in action when she takes on Luana Pinheiro to open the main card.

Below is the rest of the fight card for Saturday with the latest odds before we get to a prediction and pick on the main event.

UFC Fight Night card, odds

Favorite Underdog Weight class
Lerone Murphy -145 Edson Barboza +122 Featherweight
Khaos Williams -135 Carlston Harris +115 Welterweight
Themba Gorimbo -145 Ramiz Brahimaj +122 Welterweight
Adrian Yanez -380 Vinicius Salvador +300 Bantamweight
Angela Hill -145 Luana Pinheiro +122 Women’s strawweight

UFC Fight Night viewing information

Date: May 18 | Start time: 7 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: UFC Apex — Las Vegas
TV channel: ESPN+

Prediction

Edson Barboza vs. Lerone Murphy: Barborza, despite his elite striking pedigree, actually absorbs more strikes than he doles out on average. He’s not the most defensively responsible striker and gaps in his takedown defense, particularly early in his career, tallied up ground strikes against him. Expect Barboza to keep this fight standing and look for a highlight-reel finish. Murphy is a wild card. He’s got solid power in his strikes but it’s unclear how well it scales at a higher level. He landed three takedowns against Josh Culibao in his last fight but was taken down five times apiece by his two opponents before that. Murphy won’t have to worry much about takedowns coming his way, but he must apply his offensive wrestling carefully. People have been trying to take down Barboza for 15 years. If you don’t approach carefully, Barboza will put a dynamite knee to your chin — just ask Billy Quarantillo and Beneil Dariush. This comes down to who operates more effectively on the feet. I lean slightly toward Barboza’s explosive power and mid-fight adjustments. It might not be pretty but I expect Barboza’s experience to edge out Murphy. Barboza via UD

Who wins UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Murphy, and how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the MMA expert who profited more than $1,500 on his UFC main-card picks in 2023, and find out. 

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