UFC Vegas 92: Murphy still unbeaten as Williams, Yanez, Hill earn main card wins

Watch as undefeated light heavyweight Oumar Sy makes it a methodical victory in his UFC debut, finishing Tuco Tokkos with a rear naked choke to make him 10-0 as a professional fighter.

Lerone Murphy continued his unbeaten march up the featherweight ranks, closing out Saturday’s return to the UFC APEX with a unanimous decision win over Edson Barboza in his first main event assignment in the UFC. 

The 32-year-old from Manchester brought the fight to the Brazilian right out of the chute, working behind a long, sharp jab and good movement to keep Barboza off balance for much of the opening round. Outside of eating an upkick at the close of the first, Murphy was in control and happy to trade on the feet with the veteran, each shot that landed having a visible impact on Barboza. 

Sporadically mixing in takedowns and low kicks while sprinkling in plenty of feints, “The Miracle” turned in his most complete and impressive performance to date to garner the biggest win of his career. 

That’s now six consecutive victories and a seven-fight unbeaten streak inside the Octagon for Murphy, who moved to 14-0-1 overall with the win. Injuries have often prevented him from building the kind of sustained momentum required to make a serious push forward in the talent-rich featherweight ranks, but this effort against Barboza puts him front and centre for the time being, and should be the catalyst for another step up in competition next time out. 

While he’s unlikely to be able to hustle back in time to be a part of the UFC 304 pay-per-view in his hometown, as long as he’s back in the cage in the back half of the year, Murphy should have an opportunity to creep closer to the Top 10 before the year is out. 

It’s time for people to pay closer attention to the streaking British standout, as six straight UFC wins and an unblemished record through the first 15 fights of ones career are no easy tasks. Murphy is the genuine article and an intriguing figure in the 145-pound weight class, and it’s going to be interesting to see how far he can push this unbeaten run. 

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In the co-main event, Khaos Williams reminded everyone of the power he possesses, putting Carlston Harris to sleep in just 90 seconds. 

Entering off a split decision win a year ago at UFC 288, “The Ox Fighter” happily met Harris in the centre of the Octagon to trade hands, trusting his speed and power would be too much for the veteran to handle. Just over a minute into the contest, Williams was proven correct, as he fired a right hook at Harris’ jaw, connected with force, and halted the contest in a hurry. 

Now 4-1 over his last five outings, the 30-year-old remains an interesting figure in the “Second 15” in the 170-pound ranks, as he is clearly a plus athlete with dynamite at the end of his arms. His two UFC setbacks have come against solid competition (Michel Pereira and Randy Brown, both by decision) and he’s earned four of his six wins inside the distance. 

A showdown with one of the more veteran names in the division — Santiago Ponzinibbio, Michael Chiesa, Li Jingliang — would make a great deal of sense at this point, but after a quick outing on Saturday, don’t be surprised if Williams is right back in the gym, ready to raise his hand if anyone falls out of one of the four welterweight pairings on deck at UFC 302 next month in Newark, New Jersey. 

Adrian Yanez got himself back into the win column in impressive fashion, stopping Vinicius Salvador in the first round. 

One of the standouts from Season 4 of Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS), Yanez opened his UFC run with five straight wins, only to stumble last year, landing on the wrong side of the results in bouts with Rob Font and Jonathan Martinez. But Saturday evening, the 30-year-old from Houston dialled up a dynamic finish, putting a right hook on Salvador’s chin before chasing the Brazilian to the canvas and pounding out the finish. 

Veteran Angela Hill collected her first career submission win on Saturday, taking a page out of Dustin Poirier’s book and jumping onto a guillotine choke to tap out Luana Pinheiro in the main card clash of Top 15 strawweights. 

“Overkill” has steadily improved her grappling throughout her UFC tenure, and when Pinheiro left her neck exposed late in the second round, the 39-year-old divisional stalwart quickly cinched up the choke and jumped guard, floating into mount and securing the tap. With back-to-back wins and victories in four of her last five, the strawweight mainstay should climb into the Top 10 for the first time in her career when the rankings update early in the week. 

On the prelims, the most impressive effort on the early slate was turned in by promotional newcomer Oumar Sy, who wasted little time dragging Tuko Tokkos to the ground where he patiently worked to find a rear-naked choke finish. 

The 28-year-old from France, who earned wins over a pair of UFC veterans in his two 2023 appearances on the regional circuit, immediately closed the distance and changed levels, connecting his hands and dumping Tokkos to the canvas. While the short-notice fighter repeatedly told his cornerman Brendan Allen that Sy was breathing heavier than he was, the unbeaten prospect was securing back mount and locking in a body triangle. 

From there, it was only a matter of time until he clamped down on Tokkos’ neck, squeezing out the tap to move his record to 10-0 overall. 

Earlier in the card, we saw some excellent officiating in a pair of unconventional stoppages. 

Melissa Gatto snapped a two-fight skid with a stoppage win over Tamires Vidal in an all-Brazilian battle that ended early in the third round. 

After dominating the first two rounds on the canvas, Gatto opened the third by landing a right hand to the breast of Vidal, who recoiled and grabbed her chest once the blow connected, looking for referee Chris Tognoni to pause the action. The veteran official quickly told her the blow was legal and there would be no timeout, and when Vidal turned her back on the forward-charging Gatto, he stepped in and stopped the contest. 

Two fights earlier, Piera Rodriguez was disqualified for headbutting Ariane Carnelossi. 

Rodriguez was just starting to control the action, having hurt Carnelossi on the feet before spilling her to the canvas and landing in her guard. As she crashed down looking to attack, the DWCS graduate lead with her head, drawing a warning from referee Mark Smith to not do so again. 

And then she instantly did it again, landing with force, prompting Smith to pause the action. When Carnelossi was unable to continue, Rodriguez was disqualified. 

In both instances, the referees handled things perfectly, promptly and clearly addressing the situations and wasting no time in making the call to halt the action.

 

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