On April 10th, the UFC showcases its global stardom when Australian featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski defends his undisputed title against South Korea’s greatest mixed martial artist Chang Sung Jung, or more commonly known as, The Korean Zombie in UFC 273’s main event.
Before the headline title showdown, there is another, and it’s a long-anticipated rematch for the 135lb title, Aljamain Sterling makes his first title defence against the former champion, Petr Yan. And if the UFC 273 card could not get any more exciting, the hottest prospect in the fight world, Khamzat Chimaev faces off with former welterweight title challenger, Gilbert Burns.
Check out an in-depth analysis of these three fights, as well as all the odds and picks from early prelims to the main event.
Sunday 10 April
Main Event – Alexander Volkanovski 1/9 vs The Korean Zombie 46/10 (Featherweight)
Undisputed featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski puts his title on the line again, against the one known for his unrelenting forward pressure and never say day attitude, The Korean Zombie.
The Australian fighter has just cemented his name among the greats with two recorded victories over Max Hollaway, and after a third bout got called off, it is time for a new chapter in the division. Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) carries the pride of the Aussie’s, in a third defence of his title on an undefeated run in the UFC amounting to 10 straight victories. The hitlist continues to grow, with wins over Jermey Kennedy and Darren Elkins, and more notably three-time UFC championship challenger Chad Mendes, former champion Jose Aldo, as well as the aforementioned. His last title defence was against a fan favourite and earning more notoriety when he almost unbelievably escaped Brian Ortega’s submission attempt that had everyone believing he was about to relinquish his title. Volkanovski continues to prove himself time and time again.
The best Korean to ever set foot inside the UFC octagon, The Korean Zombie (17-6), searches for the featherweight title for the second time in his career. A win over Dustin Poirier in 2012 earned him a title shot against Jose Aldo which he was unable to acquire. He then took a two-year hiatus with mandatory military service to his nation. Only to come back stronger than ever with a first-round knockout of Dennis Bermudez. Back and forth he went, with two losses and two wins over two years, but his last victory over Dan Ige in June of 2021 was enough to garner favour in the eyes of the promotion for another title shot.
Verdict: Alexander Volkanovski (1/9)
Faster, stronger, more battle tested, and more polished than his belt, Alexander Vokanovski hands down takes this fight via a finish. Chang Sung Jung is able to take damage, and keep coming forward, hence the nickname, but his only path to victory here is a decision, which we saw Volk do so strategically against Max Hollaway. Don’t waste a dime on any other bet than – And Still!
Co-main – Aljamain Sterling 33/10 vs Petr Yan 2/11 (Bantamweight)
The co-main event of UFC 273 is a rematch that fight fans have been eagerly waiting for since the first one took place back in March 2021 ending in a disqualification. The reigning, defending bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, does not feel like he earned the title, and has everything to prove. The opponent, former bantamweight champion, and current interim bantamweight champion feels that the belt never left his hands, with the desire to win as stronger than the first time.
Aljamain Sterling (20-3) has fought through his entire career with a neck injury he picked up early in his wrestling career. Although fans may banter Sterling after his last performance, take nothing away from his wrestling skill, jiu-jitsu ability, and mixing up of his striking techniques. His rise to the title shot saw him defeat Brett Jones, Cody Stamann, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz, and Cory Sandhagen. 20 mixed martial arts wins is no joke, especially when you see a 50% finish rate. After winning the bantamweight belt via DQ, he felt it time to undergo spinal surgery, that obviously took a while to recover from, hence the interim belt.
Petr Yan (16-2) has dominated everyone the UFC has put in front of him. Yan was on his way to defend his title against Sterling, but a moment of stupidity cost him his belt. Prior to that, the Russian was on a 10-fight win streak with five finishes, including the defeat of arguably the best bantamweight to ever do it, Jose Aldo to a complete pulp. Not willing to wait around for Sterling to recover from surgery, Yan went on to fight the next best thing in the division, Cory Sandhagen, and in recognizable fashion got the unanimous decision victory to gain the interim bantamweight title.
Verdict: Petr Yan (2/11)
Petr Yan knows when to apply the pressure, he can tell when you are breaking, and he understands in exactly which moment to turn the heat all the way up. He has done that to a former champion, and he did that to Aljamain Sterling, already. Yan’s first loss was via split decision, because of an illegal strike resulting in a point deduction. The rematch of that split decision loss left no doubt, and it was almost an arrogant performance as if to say, “I was always going to win, now I embarrass you.” His second loss was to Aljamain Sterling via disqualification. If he can stay disciplined there’s no denying his arm gets raised again.
Gilbert Burns 7/2 vs Khamzat Chimaev 17/100 (Welterweight)
The sheer ferocity and natural desire to be a warrior coupled with professionalism in the gym sharpening each and every technique, Khamzat Chimaev continues to breeze through his opponents. Step in, Gilbert Durinho Burns, also once on a 10-fight win streak with the feeling of invincibility, Burns feels he can tame this roaring lion through experience.
If you hit the canvas with Gilbert Burns (20-4), it is a nightmare for any fighter. Burns is a world class jiu-jitsu black belt, and even in his biggest test against Kamaru Usman, the welterweight champion was not willing to play the Brazilian’s game. Gilbert has been in the UFC for just under a decade, but his return to welterweight was where the recognition began to blossom. Four straight wins, over Alexey Kunchenko, Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, and former welterweight king, Tyron Woodley, earned him a title shot against the now, 170lb UFC undisputed champion, “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman, unfortunately losing via technical knockout. In July of 2021, Burns put in a professional performance against Stephen “Wonder Boy” Thompson to bounce right back and said he is willing to fight anyone to get back to a title shot.
The UFC has found that somebody willing to fight Burns, and it’s the hottest prospect across any weight division, Khamzat Chimaev (10-0). The Russian born athlete fighting out of Stockholm, Sweden has dominated every man that has been put across the octagon. His debut fight in the UFC was a big statement submitting John Phillips, then knocking out Rhys McKee in the first round without taking any damage, finally, his follow up fight to break the record for quickest turn around between UFC wins in the modern era (10 days), knocking out a tough opponent like Gerald Meerschaert, was a statement of of intention. When facing his first ranked fighter, Chimaev again, made it look like child’s play. Chimaev carried the now No.13 ranked welterweight, Li Jingliang, across the octagon, Li’s country, China, whilst talking to UFC president Dana White and subsequently rear naked choking him to sleep. Whether you believe it’s a hype train or not, Khamzat Chimaev is on his way to the top.
Verdict: Khamzat Chimaev (17/100)
In Chimaev’s words, he is here to ‘smesh’ everybody, and I truly believe him when he says that. In order for Burns to gain a position to submit Chimaev, he has to utilize wrestling, where the Russian excels and should neutralize any offence. On the feet both fighters have exceptional power and striking ability, but the wrestling offensive wrestling to finish the fight is how this bout will play out in favour of Khamzat Chimaev.
Full card predictions
Main Card: 04:00 CAT, Sunday 10 April
- Alexander Volkanovski (1/9) vs The Korean Zombie (46/10): Volkanovski
- Aljamain Sterling (33/10) vs Petr Yan (2/11): Yan
- Gilbert Burns (7/2) vs Khamzat Chimaev (17/100): Chimaev
- Mackenzie Dern (81/100) vs Tecia Torres (9/100): Dern
- Vince Pichel (15/20) vs Mark Madsen (97/100): Madsen
Prelims: 02:00 CAT
- Ian Garry (1/4) vs Darian Weeks (51/20): Garry
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik (59/100) vs Marcin Tybura (12/10): Rozenstruik
- Aspen Ladd (14/10) vs Raquel Pennington (51/100): Pennington
- Micky Gall (31/20) vs Mike Mallott (46/100): Gall
Early Prelims: 00:00 CAT
- Aleksei Oleinik (17/20) vs Jared Vanderaa (86/100): Oleinik
- Anthony Hernandez (48/100) vs Josh Fremd (29/20): Fremd
- Piera Rodriguez (8/10) vs Kay Hansen (9/10): Rodriguez
- Julio Arce (47/100) vs Daniel Santos (29/20): Santos