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Murphy pummels Barboza in one-sided UFC main event

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Rising featherweight Lerone Murphy dominated Edson Barboza in Saturday's UFC Fight Night main event, winning via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

It was a breakthrough performance for England's Murphy, who's now 6-0-1 in the promotion and is all but guaranteed to break into the 145-pound rankings next week.

"I just took out a legend," Murphy said in his postfight interview. "Edson Barboza was on a two-fight winning streak. I deserve the recognition now. I've been in there with the best of the best. I just showed my worth."

Murphy started strong and controlled the action for almost the entire 25-minute fight, battering and bloodying Barboza on the feet. Murphy outlanded the Brazilian veteran 182-68 in significant strikes and converted two of four takedowns.

One of Barboza's only chances to win came at the end of the first round when he rocked Murphy with an upkick. Murphy admitted it was a "clean shot," but he survived and put on a clinic in the last four rounds.

He nearly finished Barboza in the second round, but referee Herb Dean allowed Barboza every opportunity to get back into the fight. It was an understandable decision given Barboza is ultra tough and was coming off a come-from-behind win over Sodiq Yusuff last October. But Murphy prevented the same kind of comeback. He slowed the pace of the fight a bit down the stretch, but it was still one-way traffic for the 32-year-old until the final horn.

Murphy has been a top up-and-comer in the featherweight division since his UFC debut in September 2019, but inactivity has held him back. Murphy fought twice in 2023 but has only stepped into the Octagon seven times in nearly five years.

The Manchester native said he wants to fight "anybody in that top 10" next and work toward the title.

Barboza, 38, saw his two-fight winning streak end after the lopsided defeat.

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