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UFC 254: Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova odds, picks and prediction

Joe Williams
Sportsbook Wire

In a women's flyweight bout on the main card, Lauren Murphy and Liliya Shakirova meet at UFC 254 Saturday at the UFC's Fight Island facility in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The early prelims kick off at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN+, followed by the main card set for 2 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View.

Murphy (13-4) steps into the octagon looking to extend her winning streak to four. She is coming off a June 20 unanimous-decision victory over Roxanne Modafferi at UFC Fight Night at the APEX Facility in Vegas. During her win streak she has the UD, a split-decision win over Andrea Lee and a KO/TKO of Mara Romero Borella, so the punching power is there for an early ending. Submissions are not part of Murphy's game, as she has neither won nor lost via submission in any of her 17 career professional fights, so be mindful of that in the method of victory wagering.

Shakirova (8-1) will be making her UFC debut. Her last appearance was over a year ago at GFC - Gorilla Fighting 18, topping Aygul Abduvakhid by KO/TKO in Round 2. In fact, two of Shakirova's previous three wins have been via knockout, and only one of her fights ended in submission (a win) in nine career professional bouts. The 29-year-old from Uzbekistan, like Murphy, enters on a three-bout win streak.

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Lauren Murphy vs. Liliya Shakirova betting odds

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports' betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated Friday at 4:16 p.m. ET.

The experienced Murphy (-239) is a decisive favorite. But I am not a fan of risking more than two times my potential return, so let's get more specific.

As mentioned, she has never had a submission result, win or loss, so no need to involve that portion in the method of victory. Look to the 7-way line, and take MURPHY BY KO/TKO or DQ ( +550), as there's a good chance she could knock the newcomer out, although the books lean toward the bout going the distance. It's worth a roll of the dice betting lightly on MURPHY IN ROUND 1 ( +800), MURPHY IN ROUND 2 ( +1300) and MURPHY IN ROUND 3 ( +2700). Yes, that's betting all three rounds. You can only win of them, but if she grabs the knockout, and obviously she doesn't lose or go the distance, you are going to be well ahead. It's a calculated risk worth taking, especially against a newcomer.

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