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UFC Fight Night: Barboza v Murphy Predictions

A resurgent featherweight veteran meets an undefeated prospect when the legendary Edson Barboza battles Lerone Murphy in the main event of UFC Vegas 92 on Sunday morning SA time.


A resurgent featherweight veteran meets an undefeated prospect when the legendary Edson Barboza battles Lerone Murphy in the main event of UFC Vegas 92 on Saturday night (Sunday morning SA time), writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Welterweights fill the co-headlining slot at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas with Khaos Williams and Carlston Harris hooking ‘em up, while a second fight at 170 pounds will see Zimbabwe’s Themba Gorimbo take on Ramiz Brahimaj.

The main card also includes a bantamweight bout between Adrian Yanez and Vinicius Salvador and a strawweight scrap between Luana Pinheiro and Angela Hill.

MAIN CARD (from 1 AM Sunday SA time):

Edson Barboza (2.20) v Lerone Murphy (1.70) (Featherweight)

A true legend of the sport, Barboza (24-11) will reach a milestone very few fighters have this weekend as he’s set to make his 30th walk to the Octagon.

“Junior” is one of the best fighters in UFC history to never compete for a title and despite being at the tail-end of his career at 38, he’s not given up on his title aspirations.

A Brazilian buzzsaw, Barboza’s a striker extraordinaire with one of the most awe-inspiring highlight reels around. The veteran has 14 knockouts to his name and is still going strong, finding himself just outside of the featherweight top 10 and hunting his third win in a row following thrilling triumphs over Billy Quarantillo and Sodiq Yusuff.

The headlining scrap against Yusuff in November saw him display his legendary toughness to rally back and win a five-round thriller as the underdog in a performance that earned him a record 10th Fight of the Night bonus.

England’s Murphy (13-0-1) is determined to make a serious statement as he steps into the main event spotlight for the first time. He started his UFC career with a draw against Zubaira Tukhugov before going on to win five on the bounce to break into the top 15.

“The Miracle”, who’s three places below Barboza in the rankings in 14th, is a talented striker with seven knockouts to his credit. Full of intestinal fortitude, which helped him survive and recover from a shooting in 2013, the 32-year-old should have a speed advantage and is adept at reading opponents and adjusting accordingly.

While Murphy’s an exciting prospect with tons of potential, he’s never faced anyone on Barboza’s level whereas the veteran showed in his last fight against Yusuff that he can still go a hard full five rounds with a younger fighter and get the job done.

With his versatile striking, one-and-a-half-inch reach advantage and vast experience, I’m tipping Barboza to end his British opponent’s unbeaten streak.

Prediction: Barboza by decision.

Best Bet: Barboza at 2.20.

Alternative Bet: Barboza by decision at 5.50.

Khaos Williams (1.76) v Carlston Harris (2.10) (Welterweight)

Welterweights with solid records square off in the co-main event.

Winner of three of his last four fights, Williams (14-3) is a solid striker who’s claimed half of his wins by knockout. “The Oxfighter” has lacked a cutting edge in his last couple of performances, though, which saw his last two bouts result in split decisions, the first against Randy Brown going against him and the second against Rolando Bedoya going his way. He’ll be well-served, then, to up the aggression this weekend.

Harris (19-5), meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back victories over Jared Goodon and Jeremiah Wells, the latter of which saw him push through adversity to claim his sixth win by submission. He’s good on the feet as well (five knockouts) and as the more well-rounded fighter, he’s the man to back.

Prediction: Harris by decision.

Best Bet: Harris at 1.76.

Alternative Bet: Harris by decision at 4.50.

Themba Gorimbo (1.70) v Ramiz Brahimaj (2.20) (Welterweight)

The featured bout is a great opportunity for Gorimbo (12-4) to continue to ride his wave of momentum.

The Zimbabwean fighter has scored back-to-back wins inside the Octagon, most recently knocking out Pete Rodriguez in just 32 seconds in February and went viral when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, inspired by his story, gifted him a house. Well-rounded and extremely dedicated, “The Answer” plans on bringing the house down this weekend.

Brahimaj (10-4) returns from a career-threatening injury to compete for the first time since February 2022 when he got the better of Micheal Gillmore. In addition to injury, inconsistency has plagued him as well as he has alternated wins and losses in each of his last four fights.

A grappling specialist, all of Brahimaj’s wins are by submission, so it’s no secret that he’ll try to take the fight to the ground. Gorimbo’s takedown defence will be tested but it’s worth noting he’s never been submitted and has six tapout wins in his own right.

With a five-inch reach advantage, I expect him to use his footwork to stay at range and get his hand raised.

Prediction: Gorimbo by knockout.

Best Bet: Gorimbo at 1.70.

Alternative Bet: Gorimbo by KO/TKO/DQ at 3.75.

Adrian Yanez (1.26) v Vinicius Salvador (4.00) (Bantamweight)

Bantamweights desperate to get back on track trade leather after the main event opener.

Yanez (16-5) has shown considerably more upside than his opponent in the UFC, stringing together a five-fight win streak before running into trouble last year. Veteran Rob Font cooled him down before Jonathan Martinez condemned him to a second straight loss.

Salvador (14-6) is also on a two-fight losing streak. Unlike Yanez, he’s yet to prove he belongs in the UFC and is chasing an elusive first win in the promotion. That goal sees him move up from flyweight and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in his bantamweight debut.   

Both men are primarily strikers. Yanez has 10 knockouts to his name while “Fenomeno” has 13. Again, though, the latter’s success has come at a lower level outside of the Octagon.

The difference in class between these fighters will show and will lead to the more technical and industrious Yanez returning to the win column in style.

Prediction: Yanez by knockout.

Best Bet: Yanez by KO/TKO/DQ at 1.86.

Alternative Bet: Under 2.5 rounds at 1.58.

Luana Pinheiro (2.20) v Angela Hill (1.70) (Strawweight)

Members of the strawweight top 15 are tasked with kicking off the main card.

A 3-0 start to her UFC career capped by a victory over the legendary Michelle Waterson saw Pinheiro (11-2) improve her win streak to eight and soar up the rankings before she suffered defeat at the hands of fellow Brazilian Amanda Ribas last time out.

Sitting ninth, she’s a skilled grappler with five wins by submission and is tactically astute, which will be especially crucial in this clash against a crafty veteran.

Hill (16-13) is not only a seasoned point fighter but also notoriously tough to finish, something the likes of Claudia Gadelha, Mackenzie Dern, recent title challenger Xiaonan Yan and former champion Jessica Andrade were unable to do.

Her last 11 fights have all gone to a decision and this should be no different. A win over Denise Gomes saw 12th-ranked “Overkill” rebound from her loss to Dern but facing a contender like Pinheiro is a different story. The speed of Pinheiro makes her a solid underdog bet to outpoint the 39-year-old Hill.

Prediction: Pinheiro by decision.

Best Bet: Pinheiro by decision at 3.00.

Alternative Bet: Pinheiro at 2.20.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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