Expert picks, best bets: Where's the value at UFC Fight Night and Bellator?

Lerone Murphy faces Edson Barboza in the main event at UFC Fight Night on Saturday. Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Featherweight up-and-comer Lerone Murphy puts his undefeated professional record on the line when he faces veteran contender Edson Barboza in the main event at UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the UFC Apex (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, with prelims at 4 p.m. on ESPN+).

Murphy (13-0-1) is coming off back-to-back decision wins last year against Gabriel Santos (split decision) and Josh Culibao (unanimous decision). Barboza (24-11) also enters the fight coming off a pair of wins in 2023, including a five-round unanimous decision win over Sodiq Yusuff at UFC Fight Night last October. Neither fighter is ranked in ESPN's featherweight rankings.

Also, this weekend, Bellator MMA returns for Bellator Champions Series Paris on Friday (noon ET on Max). In the main event at Accor Arena, Patchy Mix (19-1) puts his bantamweight title on the line for the first time when he takes on Magomed Magomedov.

Mix, No. 6 in ESPN's bantamweight rankings, is riding a six-fight win streak that includes four submission victories. Most recently, he beat Sergio Pettis by second-round submission to claim the title at Bellator 301 last November. Magomedov (20-3) is coming off a first-round submission win over Danny Sabatello at Bellator MMA vs. Rizin 2 in July 2023. Before that, Magomedov lost to Mix by second-round submission at Bellator 289.

Andreas Hale spoke to MMA coach and ESPN analyst Din Thomas to get his perspective on the UFC main event. ESPN betting expert Ian Parker adds insight and analysis on the main event and other intriguing bets he likes on the card. Parker also offers his best bets for the Bellator fight card.

Editor's note: Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Featherweight: Edson Barboza vs. Lerone Murphy