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UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Murphy 2 Betting Preview & Picks | Johnny Covers

Themba Gorimbo (-148) vs. Ramiz Brahimaj (+124)

Before the co-main and main event get underway on Saturday night, two welterweights looking to crack the rankings this year will step in it. In the red corner, Tehmba Gorimbo makes the ring walk for the second time this year, having beat Pete Rodriguez in the first round (TKO) at UFC Fight Night in February. 

As for Brahimaj, it’s been more than two years since we last saw him fight, having beat Michael Gilmore in February 2022 to bring his UFC record to 2-2. Dealing with a string of injuries, Brahimaj will finally return to the octagon on Saturday, drawing a difficult matchup in the form of Themba Gorimbo.

While Brahimaj has a slight edge on the ground, look for Gorimbo to use his 66% takedown defense to keep this one upright. With 1.35 knockdowns per 15 minutes and a significant striking accuracy of 60%, I expect Gorimbo to push the pace early and take advantage of Brahimaj’s ring rust in this one.

Pick: Themba Gorimbo (-148 at BetMGM Sportsbook)

Khaos Williams (-135) vs. Carlston Harris (+114)

We stay in the welterweight division for this one, as two UFC veterans Khaos Williams and Carlston Harris go at it in the co-main event. We last saw Williams in the octagon nearly one year ago to the day, beating Rolando Bedoya via split decision at UFC 288. The victory was his third in the previous four fights, bringing his UFC record to 5-2 with his only losses coming via decision to Michel Pereira and Randy Brown (split). 

As for Harris, he also comes in following a win, having picked up a submission win over Jeremiah Wells in August for his sixth win in seven tries. Since joining the UFC in May of 2021, Harris has racked up a record of 4-1, with his only loss coming to the undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov.

With Williams having a slight advantage on the feet, Harris should be able to dominate this matchup on the ground, with 2.05 takedowns per 15 minutes (vs. 0) and .82 submissions per 15 minutes (vs. 0). The much more well-rounded fighter, I like Harris to get this one done. 

Pick: Carlston Harris (+114 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Edson Barboza (+124) vs. Lerone Murphy (-148)

Certified UFC legend Edson Barboza will step back into the octagon on Saturday night for what will be his 30th fight under the banner. After losing to Bryce Mitchell to start 2022, we saw Barboza turn into two quality performances in 2023, beating Billy Q and Sodiq Yusuff to get his career back on track, for the time being. 

As for Murphy, no one has yet to stop the 32-year-old Englishman, as the undefeated featherweight is now 5-0-1 since joining the UFC in late 2019. Only two of those wins have come inside the distance, however, as Murphy’s last two fights came via decision, with a razor-close one against Gabriel Santo last March.

Despite being 38 years old, Barboza looked sharp as a tack against Yusuff his last time out (October), and I think we see him lean on his decade-plus of experience in this one against a relatively untested Murphy.

Pick: Edson Barboza (+124 at Caesars Sportsbook)

Johnny Covers

Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping UFC for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as Oddschecker, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, Yardbarker, and many more. Johnny runs giving out free UFC analysis and picks on every card, going 56% in 2021, 65% in 2022, and trending at 60% for 2023. He has also made multiple appearances on UFC's official betting show "On the Line" along side head MMA oddsmaker at Circa Sportsbooks Nick Kalikas and professional sports bettor Gianni the Greek .