A 32-year-old UFC veteran, Makwan Amirkhani has a 16-6 professional record. In the UFC, he is 6-four with four of his wins coming by finish and three of his losses in the same fashion. Amirkhani has dropped his last two fights by decision. Murphy, undefeated as a pro, is 2-0-1 in the UFC with one TKO finish and one decision win.
This weekend’s UFC 267 fight card is a special non-pay-per-view numbered event and that means
Amirkhani vs. Murphy betting odds
Murphy is a little more than a three-to-one favorite over Amirkhani.
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Amirkhani vs. Murphy Breakdown
Amirkhani is a fun and creative striker who likes to bring the fight to his opponent. He is willing to mix in exciting strikes as he closes distance; then, once in tight, Amirkhani is comfortable in a phone booth. His exciting, and sometimes chaotic style, might be surprising given his stats and record. Amirkhani only averages 1.4 significant strikes per minute; and, he only has 1 knockout win compared to his 11 submission wins. This is because Amirkhani’s striking is used to either stun his opponent and open up a takedown, or bait his opponent into taking him down. Amirkhani averages 3.6 takedowns per fight and only has a 57% takedown defense. Despite being a solid wrestler, Amirkhani has two large holes in his game. Firstly, with his creative strikes likely being a cause, Amirkhani often drains his gas tank quickly in fights. As we’ve seen in the past, even last week with Dawson, a wrestler is severely limited when his cardio is gone. Secondly, Amirkhani has struggled against technical and high volume strikers who can evade his creative strikes, stick their own, and move out of the way of a takedown.
Murphy is nothing if not technical. He is a fundamentally sound and athletically gifted kickboxer who is adept at switching stances while unloading, seemingly with minimal effort, fluid, and crisp kicks and punches. However, similar to Amirkhani, Murphy keeps a lower output. He only averages 2.8 significant strikes landed per minute. Coupled with a solid 63% striking accuracy, these numbers support his preference to read his opponent and then counter as they enter his striking zone. So far this has not been an issue; but, regularly fighting off his back-foot leaves Murphy exposed to pressure and takedowns. Case and point, Murphy only has a 41% takedown defense. In a pure kickboxing match, Murphy often has the edge in all areas- speed, power, fundamentals, and IQ.
Amirkhani vs. Murphy Prediction
As with a lot of these fights, I disagree with the Vegas line. I think Murphy could be a ranked featherweight soon. But, with Amirkhani’s bread and butter being takedowns, and Murphy having a deficiency in the area, I’m surprised to see Murphy as such a large favorite. That being said, I still see Murphy getting the win. He might get caught up in the clinch and maybe even hit the mat; but, if he can survive round 1, Amirkhani will likely gas out again. Then, Murphy can stick and move the rest of the fight, or until he finds Amirkhani’s chin.
Prediction: Murphy to win
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.