Lets start this off by stating the obvious. This is a STACKED card! 2 Title fights, and those aren't even the most anticipated fight on the card. The vast majority of MMA fans are looking forward to the match between Gilbert Burns and Khamzat Chimaev. Is Khamzat Chimaev the real deal? Well we will find out Saturday night.
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MAIN CARD PREDICTIONS
Alexander Volkanovski vs Chan Sung Jung
Volkanovski continues his quest to becoming the most dominant Featherweight in UFC history. This time against The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung. On paper this is a mismatch, and both the Vegas oddsmakers and fans are well aware. Chan Sung Jung is only getting this opportunity because Max Holloway had to drop out due to injury. Volkanovski is on another level and should dominate this fight. The Korean Zombie is known as a durable warrior but Alexander is going to punish him severely in this fight. It wouldn't surprise me this doesn't go the distance.
Volkanovski will defend his belt in this one, and Chan Sung Jung's Zombie nickname will be severely tested. This should be a very entertaining fight, and don't be surprised if Chan Sung Jung actually hurts Volkanovski early. I just don't see him having the power to stop Alexander Volkanovski, and the longer it goes the more the fight is to Volkanovski's advantage.
Prediction - Alexander Volkanovski
Bet Level 1 - Alexander Volkanovski to Win -615
Bet Level 2 - Fight go the Distance > NO +130
Bet Level 3 - Alexander Volkanovski to Win by KO, TKO, DQ, or SUB > +200
Aljamain Sterling vs Petr Yan
So with the way their previous fight ended, this fight was immediately anticipated. Losing the belt by disqualification has got to be eating at Petr Yan. Since losing the belt Petr Yan kept busy by dominating Cory Sandhagen. In the meantime Aljamain Sterling has been living the Bantamweight Champion life sitting ringside and waving to the cameras.
The vast majority of fans who watched their first fight were of the opinion that Petr Yan was on his way to winning before he smashed Sterling with that illegal knee. That's how I saw it as well. What people need to remember though is that for the first three Rounds Aljamain Sterling was really in it and winning. Aljamain's mistake was expending far too much energy early in the Rounds. That allowed Petr Yan to be Defensive until he could feel Sterling fade. Petr Yan has serious knockout power, but what makes him special is his Defense. He keeps his Guard up while standing but because of his build doesn't expose his body much. He also has great Takedown Defense. It's that combination that allows Petr Yan to be incredibly patient which is perfect for 5 Round title fights.
The real question in this fight is what has Aljamain Sterling learned from the first fight. Can he adjust his tempo and still pressure Petr Yan. Has his Cardio improved to where he feels confident going 5 Rounds. I am of the opinion that not enough time has passed for Aljamain Sterling to have improved his Cardio enough. For Aljamain Sterling to win this he needs to either finish Petr Yan, or win the first 3 Rounds, and then weather the storm for 2 Rounds.
Prediction - Petr Yan
Bet Level 1 - Petr Yan to win -540
Bet Level 2 - fight go the Distance > NO -104
Bet Level 3 - Petr Yan to Win by KO, TKO, DQ, or SUB > +137
Gilbert Burns vs Khamzat Chimaev
Who is absolutely amped for this fight! This is such a difficult fight to pick for so many reasons. What really confuses most Analysts is how little we have seen of Khamzat Chimaev. To be even more precise, how little we have seen of him in actual trouble. Can Gilbert Burns put Khamzat on the Defensive? History would say that he will.
This fight is so puzzling that as I write this I've yet to make my prediction. Khamzat Chimaev is a huge Welterweight. On the flipside Gilbert Burns is small for a Welterweight. In fact Burns began his career as a Lightweight, and Chimaev has a UFC win at Middleweight. So trust me when you see them meet in the Octagon, Chimaev will look significantly bigger. I think that's all a lot of people are looking at and picking Khamzat. What's lost in that comparison is that Gilbert Burns is the #3 ranked Welterweight for a reason. Although small for the Division Burns has knockout power, and has elite BJJ skills. I don't think anyone could argue that Khamzat has faced a fighter with a better Ground game, or heavier hands than Gilbert Burns. So this is a serious step up for Chimaev.
Now most people assume Khamzat Chimaev will look to dominate Burns with his wrestling and look to get him to the mat. I don't necessarily believe that will be the case. Burns is very dangerous on the Ground, even in the bottom position. Chimaev might look to test Burns' strength and wrestle him early in Round 1. If Burns is able to threaten at all on the Ground that might be it for that strategy. Khamzat has devastating power, is the significantly taller fighter, and has the longer reach. His safest path to victory is to do exactly what Usman did to Burns. Use the jab to keep distance, and knock him out with a well timed right.
Prediction - Khamzat Chimaev
Bet Level 1 - Fight go the Distance > NO -266
Bet Level 2 - Fight goes 1.5 Rounds > OVER -125
Bet Level 3 - Khamzat Chimaev by Decision +210
Mackenzie Dern vs Tecia Torres
It had to happen some time. The classic grappler vs Striker match up. Mackenzie Dern is the prototypical grappler with a very good Submission game. Tecia Torres is a tough scrappy Striker with an endless gas tank.
Stylistically this is a great fight for Tecia Torres. She is actually somewhat small for a Strawweight. Usually that's her downfall against taller longer Strikers. In this case against a grappler it's an advantage. Mackenzie will have to time her Takedowns perfectly to get under Tecia's sprawl. Plus Teccia likes to strike in boxing range which is tight to the opponent. That further increases the difficulty of Dern getting low enough to shoot.
I strongly feel like this fight will go the distance because if Tecia has her in trouble Dern can look to clinch. Plus I don't think Dern will have too many opportunities to submit Torres.
Prediction - Tecia Torres
Bet Level 1 - Fight goes 2.5 Rounds > OVER -190
Bet Level 2 - Fight goes the Distance > YES -150
Bet Level 3 - Tecia Torres to Win +100
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Marcin Tybura
It isn't a UFC card without a Heavyweight match. A couple fighters in the Heavyweight mix that only need a couple of wins to get some serious attention.
Both fighters have decent striking but Rozenstruik definitely has more pop in his punch. Tybura will certainly be at a disadvantage while the fight is standing. The issue for Rozenstruik is that Tybura has very good wrestling. I expect him to employ a wrestling heavy approach to see if he can exhaust Jairzinho.
I really like Marcin Tybura's chances to dictate where this fight takes place. That being said he did exactly that against Derrick Lewis and still got knocked out. Now Rozenstruik has power but not Lewis' power. He will have opportunities to put Tybura's lights out, and unlike Lewis he tends to be a much more active Striker. He couldn't stop Blaydes from using his wrestling to grind out a win. I think Tybura will try to do the same.
Prediction - Marcin Tybura
Bet Level 1 - Fight goes 1.5 Rounds > OVER -138
Bet Level 2 - Marcin Tybura to Win +130
Bet Level 3 - Marcin Tybura to Win by Decision +300
UFC STRIKE NEWS
UFC 273 has a number of fighters represented that already have Moments on the UFC Strike platform. The majority of Collectors are probably most interested in the Julio Arce, Ian Garry, and Khamzat Chimaev fights. Seeing as how these are Contender Series Moments and the most affordable on the Platform.
Out of these particular Fighters I would say that Ian Garry has the most to lose. He is undefeated but this will only be his second fight in the UFC. More importantly it is a fight he is supposed to Win. A loss at this time will significantly hinder the hype he has started to generate. Not that much is expected of Julio Arce so win or lose it shouldn't effect his Market value much. Khamzat Chimaev is in an interesting position. A win over Gilbert Burns is huge and should increase his value. With a loss at this point in his career it doesn't actually hurt his value much. Chimaev is still developing, has a lot of hype behind him, and is taking a huge step up in competition. So even if he loses, he can bounce back from it.
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