The UFC heads off to Jacksonville, Florida to host a massive pay-per-view card as UFC 273 is set to take place at the sold-out VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09. The UFC has put together two exciting title fights as the Main Event and co-Main event on this card but has also stacked the deck with a number of exciting fights on the early prelims and prelims.
The Main Event will be headlined by a featherweight bout between Aussie champ Alex Volkanovski who takes on The Korean Zombie (TKZ). The co-main event will see a rematch between bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling and former champ Petr Yan.
One of the most anticipated fights on this card is a welterweight bout between former title challenger Gilbert Burns and the impressive and undefeated Khamzat Chimaev. Our experts share their analysis of these three fights, look at the betting odds and share their predictions.
Volkanovski vs. TKZ
Millions of MMA fans were not willing to give Alex Volkanovski the respect he deserved as the featherweight champ because they felt that former champ Max Holloway was the real champ. However, Volk silenced his critics and proved that he was more than a worthy champ in his last title defence against submission specialist Brian Ortega.
Volk survived and came out of a submission that many felt would end the fight and he then put on a masterpiece and defeated Ortega. He was set to rematch Holloway for a third time but the fight fell through when Holloway got injured and the UFC then offered TKZ the fight.
Volk goes in as a massive betting favourite with odds of 1/8 while TKZ has odds of 11/2. This definitely looks like a much easier fight for Volk than a third rematch with Holloway. While TKZ has a great striking, he also gets hit a lot. TKZ is also not known for his wrestling prowess and opens the door for Volk to take him down if he chooses to do so.
Our experts predict that this fight will be rather one-sided as we expect Volk to dominate and get the win. The big question is whether Volk can push hard to finish the fight and once again showcase his dominance as the real featherweight champ!
Sterling vs. Yan
There is a lot of bad blood in this match as Yan lost his belt to Aljo in their first fight after he downed Aljo with an illegal knee. Aljo was unable to recover and the referee called a stop to the fight and Aljo got the belt. Yan believes like a lot of MMA fans that Aljo used some theatrics to fake how serious he was injured and took the easy way out to get the belt.
Aljo has also used social media to call Petr Yan as Cheater Yan and stoke the animosity between the two even further. The bookmakers have Yan as the betting favourite with odds of 2/9 while Aljo is the underdog with odds of 7/2. Our experts agree with these odds. If you rewatch the first fight between the two, we see that Yan was dominating most of the fight and would have most likely won if the fight was not stopped.
Yan is going to be a lot more aggressive and focused in this fight as he wants to stop Aljo and not leave it to the judges. The Russian definitely has better striking than Aljo, has fantastic cardio and has shown that he can hold his own on the ground with Aljo whose biggest strength is his wrestling.
This could turn out to be a long night for Aljo as Yan is not just looking to win but to send a strong message that Aljo should never have been a champ in the first place!
Burns vs. Chimaev
Gilbert Burns is one of the best grapplers and BJJ specialists in the welterweight division. Burns who fought Kamaru Usman for the title and lost is looking to get a big win over the much-hyped Chimaev and make another run for the title. Even though Burns has a great ground game and is a good striker, he is going into this fight as the betting underdog with odds of 4/1.
Chimaev is the betting favourite with odds of 2/11 as Chimaev has been unstoppable in the UFC finishing his fights with ease at both welterweight and middleweight. Chimaev has been rather disrespectful of Burns’s skills and experience, saying that it will be another easy night for him. This is going to be Chimaev’s biggest test to date and we do think that he will come out with a win!
Other Exciting Fights
Some of the other interesting fights on this card include Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres, Vinc Pichel vs.Mark Madsen and Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov.