This Saturday’s UFC 273 card features two title fights in Volkanovski vs. Jung and Sterling vs. Yan and a third bout that may have heavy title-shot implications.
UFC 273, taking place in Jacksonville, FL, is headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski and challenger Chan Sung Jung, a.k.a., The Korean Zombie.
A bantamweight title fight rematch between champion Aljamain Sterling and former champ/current interim champ Petr Yan is the card’s co-main event.
And top 15-ranked welterweight contenders Gilbert Burns and Khamzat Chimaev will face off in an attempt to get a step further in their own championship pursuits.
UFC 273 main event: Volkanovski vs Jung
Topping the card is the aforementioned 145-pound title fight between Volkanovski (23-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC) and No. 4-ranked Jung (17-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC). The fight wasn’t initially supposed to happen.
Volkanovski was originally scheduled to cap off a trilogy with former champion Max Holloway. Due to injury, Holloway had to pull out. Jung, coming off a dominant victory over Dan Ige last June, has filled in.
This fight will be Jung’s second title shot. The last time the 35-year-old South Korean was a contender for the featherweight belt was against then-champion Jose Aldo back in 2013. After that fight, Jung served his two-year mandatory military service requirement back in South Korea.
Since returning to MMA in 2017, Jung has gone 3-2 with wins over Ige, Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano. His two losses came from Yair Rodriguez and the last title challenger Brian Ortega.
But getting that UFC championship belt wrapped around his waist won’t be an easy task.
The Australian Champion Volkanovski is currently on a 20-fight winning streak in his MMA career and hasn’t lost since May 2013 fighting for Australian FC. During the same year, Jung was making his first title fight appearance for the UFC. His winning streak is the longest among active UFC fighters.
Since joining the UFC in 2016, Volkanovski, 33, has been on a tear in the featherweight division and has had wins over the likes of Max Holloway (twice), Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. A win over Jung would add another well-respected name to his victory belt.
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How To Watch UFC 273
- Main Card on ESPN+ PPV at 9 p.m.
- Prelims on ESPN+ at 7 p.m.
- Early Prelims on ESPN+ at 5 p.m.
Volkanovski is a well-balanced athlete with strong striking and wrestling and a large cardio gas tank, a model of the new generation of what is expected to be a successful MMA fighter.
Jung, on the other hand, has shown he has the same attributes on his best days. He has also shown his knockout power throughout his long career and he has shown it recently, finishing Edgar and Moicano in the first round. He also has a strong ground game. In his UFC debut back in 2011, he submitted Leonard Garcia with a “twister.” It was the first twister submission in UFC history.
No matter who comes out on top on Saturday, it is inevitable that the winner will face fan-favorite and the self-proclaimed best boxer in the UFC: Former featherweight champion Max Holloway.
Brian Ortega: W (Dec.)
|Last 5||Dan Ige: W (Dec)|
Max Holloway: W (Dec.)
|Brian Ortega: L (Dec)|
Max Holloway: W (Dec.)
|Frankie Edgar: W (TKO)|
Jose Aldo: W (Dec.)
|Renato Moicano: W (TKO)|
Chad Mendes: W (TKO)
|Yair Rodriguez: L (KO)|
Sterling vs Yan 2
Before the featherweights go head-to-head, the 135 pounders will fight for the bantamweight strap in the co-main event.
Current champ Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) will rematch the former champ and current interim champ Petr Yan (16-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) after their last bout in March 2021 ended with then-champ Yan getting disqualified and losing the belt after kneeing a downed Sterling in the head and knocking him out.
In what is probably the biggest rivalry of the night, the two bantamweights will run it back to see who gets to become the undisputed bantamweight champion and potentially close this chapter of their careers.
Sterling has been away for over a year after having neck surgery, unrelated to the last fight. Yan has fought once, beating Cory Sandhagen in October by decision for the interim belt.
UFC 273 Sterling vs. Yan 2 odds
Both Sterling and Yan have notable wins under their belts (and interim belts). Sterling has beaten guys like Sandhagen, Pedro Munhoz, Jimmie Rivera and Renan Barao. Yan has come out on top against Jose Aldo, Uriah Faber, Rivera and John Dodson.
Regardless of who wins, it will be great for the stacked bantamweight division to be able to move on from this rivalry and get other challengers in the title mix. Sandhagen is looking for his chance at gold again and former champion TJ Dillashaw will no doubt get a title shot upon his return from injury. Jose Aldo is also in the mix of future title contenders.
Petr Yan: W (DQ)
|Last 5||Cory Sandhagen: W (Dec.)|
Cory Sandhagen: W (Sub)
|Aljamain Sterling: L (DQ)|
Pedro Munhoz: W (Dec.)
|Jose Aldo: W (TKO)|
Jimmie Rivera: W (Dec.)
|Uriah Faber: W (KO)|
Cody Stamann: W (Sub)
|Jimmie Rivera: W (Dec)|
Burns vs. Chimaev in UFC 273
Though not a title fight, this matchup has title implications for the welterweight division.
Former title challenger Gilbert Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) hopes to stop the momentum of rising star Khamzat Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) on Saturday night.
Burns, who has also fought at lightweight, is 6-1 in his UFC welterweight bouts. His only loss? Current welterweight champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Kamaru Usman.
Burns vs. Chimaev odds
Since his return to welterweight in 2019, he had had victories over Tyron Woodley, Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson.
He has also arguably come the closest to defeating Usman. In their title bout, Burns rocked Usman and knocked him down early in the fight, but ultimately Usman would go on to finish Burns by TKO in the third round.
Since then, he’s only fought once, beating Thompson by decision in a dominant fashion last July at UFC 264.
But can he be the immovable object and hold on to his ranking against a seemingly unstoppable force in Khamzat Chimaev?
Chimaev has risen in ranking and popularity as fast as anyone has seen in the MMA world since Conor McGregor. The 27-year-old Swedish transplant from war-torn Russia has not yet broken a sweat in his entire MMA career.
He has finished three out of four of his UFC opponents in around three minutes. Chimaev has only seen a little over a minute of a second round in the UFC and that was in his debut. The same holds true for his time before the UFC too: mostly first-round finishes with a few in the first minute of the second round.
However, Burns will be Chimaev’s biggest test. The talent he has faced so far doesn’t compare to Burns and his resume. Since he was an amateur, Chimaev has been a mythical MMA figure. Whispers of a welterweight cardio machine training in Sweden wrestling with heavyweights has made the rounds for years.
Though both guys have proven they can strike, both have strength on the ground. Chimaev is a great wrestler and Burns’ jiu-jitsu is top tier. It will be a matchup of ground styles between the two welterweights.
Stephen Thompson: W (Dec.)
|Last 5||Li Jingliang: W (Sub)|
Kamaru Usman: L (TKO)
|Gerald Meerschaert: W (KO)|
Tyron Woodley: W (Dec.)
|Rhys McKee: W (TKO)|
Demian Maia: W (TKO)
|John Phillips: W (Sub)|
Gunnar Nelson: W (Dec.)
|Mzwandile Hlongwa: W (Sub- Brave CF)|
Full UFC 273 betting odds
Other main-card bouts
- Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern vs Tecia Torres
- Lightweight: Vinc Pichel vs Mark Madsen
- Welterweight: Ian Garry vs Darian Weeks
- Heavyweight: Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Marcin Tybura
- Bantamweight: Aspen Ladd vs Raquel Pennington
- Welterweight: Mickey Gall vs Mike Malott
- Heavyweight: Aleksei Oleinik vs Jared Vanderaa
- Middleweight: Anthony Hernandez vs Josh Fremd
- Strawweight: Piera Rodriguez vs Kay Hansen
- Bantamweight: Julio Arce vs Daniel Santos