UFC 273: Volkanovski vs Korean Zombie Predictions

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UFC 273: Volkanovski vs Korean Zombie Predictions & Results

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A strange PPV card. UFC 273 features: a couple of title fights, a couple of truly intriguing bouts, and a handful of ‘eh’ fights that might tickle the pickle of various fanbases. Let’s be honest, everyone and their dog is most interested in Khamzat Chimaev jumping up in class to face former title contender, Gilbert Burns. It’s always a pleasure to watch Volkanovski defend his belt and Yan/Sterling finally end their stretched out beef.

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Dana White loves a bit of Khamzat Chimaev | UFC 273 Predictions
Dana White loves a bit of Khamzat Chimaev | UFC 273 Predictions

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UFC 273: Main Event

Alexander Volkanovski vs Chan SUng Jung

Featherweight (145)

UFC Featherweight Championship

Alexander Volkanovski (23-1)

Perhaps it is the dominance of Volkanovski’s championship reign, perhaps it is TKZ’s lukewarm return from service, but the main event title fight hasn’t attracted much attention. There are several areas of interest for fans to sink their teeth into, but even I cannot stop myself from seeing this as a dominant Volkanovski decision.

TKZ was neutralised by Brian Ortega with a rare performance of long, outside striking. Volkanovski has already executed this game plan with success against Ortega himself, and Max Holloway. The first area of interest, however, is grappling. While Ortega is always an insane submission threat, TKZ is instead a more complete, gradual grappling threat. Volkanovski has shown exceptional TDD and defensive grappling, however. It is difficult to see the Aussie making a series of poor decisions that finds himself on his back.

The champion’s leg kicks are perhaps going under the radar. In his first fight with Holloway, Volk regularly stopped the Hawaiian’s advances by hitting hard calf kicks when Holloway sat into his jab. TKZ is far more comfortable countering off the back foot, yet Volkanovski is lightning quick with short single shots and incredibly difficult to catch. TKZ may well grow frustrated in the later rounds, open up, and give Volk a slight window of opportunity that the champ will grasp.

Chan Sung Jung (17-6)

TKZ is a strange amalgamation of all the challengers that Volk has so far faced. What Jung brings that is fresh, is a level of power that Volk has not yet faced. Volkanovski loves to duck on the inside, while TKZ’s uppercuts are a beautiful leveller. I’m not saying bet the house on it, Volk’s chin is insane, but the South Korean is lethal accurate.

There is a real possibility that TKZ finds himself pinned against the cage and ground down similar to Volk vs Aldo. TKZ can be frozen by feints, the Korean is often static while he reads an opponent. Volkanovski’s relentless energy could dominate the positioning in the cage and lead to a safe yet thoroughly underwhelming title defence.

Predicted Result: Volkanovski Decision

Perhaps it is the dominance of Volkanovski’s championship reign, perhaps it is TKZ’s lukewarm return from service, but the main event title fight hasn’t attracted much attention. What Jung brings that is fresh, is a level of power that Volk has not yet faced. Volkanovski loves to duck on the inside, while TKZ’s uppercuts are a beautiful leveller. The Aussie’s chin is exceptional, but stranger things have happened in the cage.

There is a real possibility that TKZ finds himself pinned against the cage and ground down similar to Volk vs Aldo. TKZ can be frozen by feints, the Korean is often static while he reads an opponent. Volkanovski’s relentless energy could dominate the positioning in the cage and lead to a safe yet thoroughly underwhelming title defence.

Result: Volkanovski def. TKZ // TKO (punches) Round 4 0:45

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

King Volk returns again to defend his belt against fan favourite TKZ | UFC 273 Predictions
King Volk returns again to defend his belt against fan favourite TKZ | UFC 273 Predictions

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UFC 273: Co-Main Event

Aljamain Sterling vs Petr Yan

Bantamweight (135)

UFC Bantamweight Championship

Petr Yan (16-2)

Another title fight that has failed to inspire anything in me besides disappointment at MMA Twitter. The hate and vitriol that Sterling faced have been monumental, yet the paper champ’s response has helped fan the flames. At the end of the day, Yan threw away his belt with a moronic decision – the rules are there for a reason.

The real question for this rematch is whether Sterling can find any sort of foothold in the fight? The opening rounds saw Sterling attempt to out-work Yan with volume, but the Funk Master was dominated in the wrestling department and kept far away from his preferred grappling game. When you add in that Yan is an exceptional ‘read and adapt’ fighter, already having the blueprint of Aljo, it is difficult to see what Sterling can bring to change up the dynamic.

Aljamain Sterling (20-3)

Mentally, it appeared that Sterling was flailing before Yan’s illegal finish. Power-wise, Sterling’s clean shots did nothing to elicit a reaction from Yan. With the Russian boogeyman warming into his ridiculous arsenal of trips and takedowns, it was slowly turning into a humiliating night for the New Yorker before the finishing knee.

Outside of the early round success that Sterling found, this will be a brutally punishing affair. Aljo has to bank on his early success where he out-wrestled Yan. Sandhagen was shocked by a lightning-fast submission, considering Yan’s freak durability, a grappling-heavy performance has to be the path that Sterling opts for.

Predicted Result: Yan TKO Round 4

The real question for this rematch is whether Sterling can find any sort of foothold in the fight? Aljo did find success on the ground against Yan in the opening rounds of their first bout, but it exhausted the New Yorker and failed to threaten Yan. Admittedly, Sterling regularly found a home for bodywork on the feet, but Yan’s durability is freakish and seemed to have little effect. Considering that Yan is an elite adapter, who will enter this rematch with a near-perfect blueprint of Aljo, the Russian has to be considered a heavy, heavy favourite to reclaim his belt.

Result: Sterling def. Yan // Decision (split – 47-48, 48-47, 48-47)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Paid actor, Aljo Sterling, eats a knee from Petr Yan | UFC 273 Predictions
Paid actor, Aljo Sterling, eats a knee from Petr Yan | UFC 273 Predictions

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UFC 273: Main Card

Gilbert Burns vs Khamzat Chimaev

Welterweight (170)

Gilbert Burns (20-4)

Phwoar. I rarely get excited before fights, but for some reason, this has got me as giddy as a kid at Christmas. Burns is a perfect litmus paper test for Chimaev as the Swede is yet to show anything other than ‘steamroller’ performances in the octagon. Burns holds power in the hands that can crack anyone, Usman can attest. Whether Burns’ is as capable of countering a freakishly large, sweltering pressure fighter in Chimaev, however, is difficult to gauge. Low kicks are usually a key weapon of Durinho, but Chimaev will be seeking to catch and wrestle.

Worryingly, Burns has been happy to pull guard throughout his career – even pulling guard against the oppressive top control king in Usman. Chimaev hasn’t proven his wrestling chops against the same level of competition as the champ, but his brutal ground and pound is far more likely to land a mark than Burns’ speculative submissions off the back.

Khamzat Chimaev (10-0)

First things first, I have fully bought into the Chimaev hype train. The Block Asset training videos, the UFC promo packages and the dominant performances inside the octagon have got me believing that the crazy Swede may just roll his way into a title shot off the back of a Burns win. Poor old Leon Edwards.

I believe that Chimaev will not look quite as impervious as his earlier UFC whitewashes. Burns is lightning fast on the feet, and while I expect Chimaev to eventually press Burns to the fence, the Swede will eat a fair amount of damage in the process. Confidence is a hell of a drug in this sport, however. Fighters that once looked untouchable have fallen apart at the seams after their first L, while the vice versa applies to random runs of form (Darren Elkins for the hipsters). Chimaev oozes confidence inside and outside of the octagon, there is little reason to believe that Chimaev will mentally fall at the next hurdle towards the title.

Predicted Result: Chimaev TKO Round 2

Burns holds power in the hands that can crack anyone, Usman can attest. Whether Burns’ is as capable of countering a freakishly large, sweltering pressure fighter in Chimaev, however, is difficult to gauge. Low kicks are usually a key weapon of Durinho, but Chimaev will be seeking to catch and wrestle.

I believe that Chimaev will not look quite as impervious as his earlier UFC whitewashes. While I expect Chimaev to eventually press Burns to the fence, the Swede will eat a fair amount of damage in the process. Burns’ worrying preference to pull guard, even against Usman, is a potential red flag that will only benefit the Swedes’ hellacious ground and pound.

Result: Chimaev def. Burns // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Mackenzie Dern vs Tecia Torres

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Mackenzie Dern (11-2)

A fabulous grappler, perhaps the best across the Women’s Strawweight division, yet it means nought if you can’t take the fight down to the mat. Wrestling inadequacies have long plagued Dern, most evident against Marina Rodriguez who was able to deny Dern 7 of 8 takedown attempts. The Brazilian may have shown a champion’s heart and durability to fight to the final bell, her less than functional striking was proven incapable of picking up W’s if her takedowns aren’t firing.

Tecia Torres (13-5)

I’ve long been a fan of Tecia Torres. The Tiny Tornado may have sunk to a four-fight slide between 2018-2019, but it came against the very best in Strawweight. Torres is a gatekeeper to the very highest echelons of the division. A never-ending gas tank allows Torres to pour out an unmatchable volume on the feet, with a strong wrestling base to boot. While Angela Hill and Brianna Van Buren were both able to eventually take Torres down, it came with a monumental struggle. Additionally, Torres has proven far too experienced to opt to wrestle Dern and risk a fight coin flip on the ground.

Predicted Result: Torres Decision

The Tiny Tornado may have sunk to a four-fight slide between 2018-2019, but it came against the very best in Strawweight. A never-ending gas tank allows Torres to pour out an unmatchable volume on the feet, with a strong wrestling base to boot. Although Dern is a phenomenal grappler, perhaps the best at Strawweight, her wrestling inadequacies often leave her stranded on the feet. Her striking has developed leaps and bounds since her UFC debut, but as seen against Marina Rodriguez, it won’t ever be enough to pick up W’s when the wrestling is amiss.

Result: Dern def. Torres // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Vinc Pichel vs Mark Madsen

Lightweight (155)

Vinc Pichel (14-2)

Vinc Pichel is the type of fighter that won’t ever earn the credit he deserves, doomed to the history books and pub quizzes as a forgotten man. At thirty-nine, it would take a miracle for Pichel to work his way speedily towards title contention, but his experience continues to carry him against opponents who deem him a ‘stepping stone’. While Pichel doesn’t excel in any area, he is an adaptable well-rounded fighter who can grit down and eventually find an area to exploit. Striking-wise, Pichel should be far and above the superior technician.

Mark Madsen (11-0)

Mark Madsen has the skillset to be Pichel’s kryptonite. A powerhouse wrestler, the former Olympic silver medallist has clear advantages on the ground. Against a far more wily grappler in Clay Guida, however, Madsen was bamboozled at times by the veteran. In part, this is due to Madsen’s conditioning issues that cause him to flag up later down the stretch. Unless Madsen can pin Pichel to the mat, the Dane will struggle to handle Pichel’s greater control of distance and timing on the feet.

Predicted Result: Madsen Decision

A very tentative favouring of the superior wrestler over the well-rounded, gritty skillset of Pichel. Madsen’s later round conditioning issues could cause real problems for the Dane if he is unable to pin Pichel to the mat. Pichel is Mr Adaptable, with the experience to brush off a dominant Madsen opening and come into the fight late.

Result: Madsen def. Pichel // Decision (UD – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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UFC 273: Preliminary Card

Ian Garry vs Darian Weeks

Welterweight (170)

Ian Garry (8-0)

Although the UFC will run a promo package featuring Garry’s crushing KO finish over Jordan Williams, it is important to remember that the Irishman was pieced up for the previous four minutes of the fight. Unable to fall back onto his long frame, Garry was surprised by William’s speed and ability to throw beyond single shots. Granted, Garry dug deep and adapted to finish the fight, but the lack of slickness to his back-foot countering is a worry. Garry will tower over Weeks, however, and can rely on his simple ‘lean back’ defence.

Darian Weeks (5-1)

Sure, Weeks has the power and front-foot aggression to poke holes in Garry’s limited defence, but Weeks’ wrestling base is the intriguing aspect. Garry will struggle to be the first man to knockout Weeks, with the American set to test Garry’s scrambling and defensive grappling. A wonderful fight that will tell us a lot about two somewhat unproven quantities.

Predicted Result: Garry TKO Round 2

Although the UFC will run a promo package featuring Garry’s crushing KO finish over Jordan Williams, it is important to remember that the Irishman was pieced up for the previous four minutes of the fight. Surprised by Williams’ speed and range, Garry will tower over Weeks and thankfully rely on his limited ‘lean back’ defensive movement. Weeks’ solid chin and strong wrestling base are set to test Garry’s scrambles. A fine fight between two somewhat unproven quantities.

Result: Garry def. Weeks // Decision (UD – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Aspen Ladd vs Raquel Pennington

Women’s Featherweight (135)

Aspen Ladd (9-2)

Man, this is a stinker of a fight. Ladd stunk out the joint with a weird late notice fight against Norma Dumont. Ladd has a history of bad weight cuts, injuries and largely wins based on her physical strength negating opponent’s technical superiorities. Ladd will find herself the superior athlete in this affair, but her defensive holes on the feet (and dreadful decision making) will see Pennington piece Ladd apart on the cage.

Raquel Pennington (13-8)

To me, Pennington is a fighter who I enjoy keeping up with from a distance. A proper gritty fighter who pieces superior fighters up in ugly, gruelling fights where Rocky relies more on her chin than skills. It’s nice to see the hearty fighters pick up wins, but it isn’t the sort of fight that will keep me glued to the screens. Even with Ladd’s potential wrestling edge, Pennington’s formidable durability and tenacity is the clearer end game.

Predicted Result: Pennington Decision

Ladd has a history of bad weight cuts, injuries and largely wins based on her physical strength negating opponent’s technical superiorities. While Ladd will indeed find herself the superior athlete in this affair, her defensive holes on the feet (and dreadful decision making) will see Pennington piece Ladd apart on the cage.

Result: Pennington def. Ladd // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Mickey Gall vs Mike Malott

Welterweight (170)

Mickey Gall (7-4)

Crikey, there aren’t many more fights on this card that inspire. Gall was thoroughly dominated by Alex Morono, leaving Gall stranded as a one-note gatekeeper. While Gall’s BJJ has often been held aloft as the ‘money’ part of his game, it is worth noting that his shoddy gas tank saw Gall lose to a second-round TKO against Diego Sanchez’s corpse. Gall hits surprisingly hard, which often catches opponents further unaware via his length, but there isn’t the consistency to go toe-to-toe with solid kickboxers.

Mike Malott (12-7)

Malott may have collected a string of first-round finishes, but Malott often faces a lot of adversity before finishing bouts. Solomon Renfro was piecing apart Malott before the Canadian found a window of opportunity off a jab and threw everything into the finish. Gall is more consistent, more experienced, but his gas tank issues will always plague him.

Predicted Result: Gall Submission Round 1

Malott may have collected a string of first-round finishes, but Malott often faces a lot of adversity before finishing bouts. Gall is more consistent, more experienced, but his gas tank issues will always plague him. While Gall’s BJJ has often been held aloft as the ‘money’ part of his game, it is worth noting that his shoddy gas tank saw Gall lose to a second-round TKO against Diego Sanchez’s corpse.

Result: Malott def. Gall // TKO (punches) Round 1 3:41

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

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Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) vs Jared Vanderaa

Heavyweight (265)

Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1)

A sloppy Heavyweight brawl that will feel like a slow-motion, 0.25x speed version of an MMA fight. That isn’t to say this won’t be fun! Oleinik, despite his age, flies out the blocks with volume knowing damn well he will gas whatever his gameplan is. A legend of the game, if Oleinik cannot beat the likes of Vanderaa, he needs to retire.

Jared Vanderaa (12-7)

Jared Vanderaa is a God awful watch, lacking the power to at least be a half-entertaining, brawling Heavyweight mess. By virtue of owning a chin capable of weathering a 44yr old grappler’s boxing, Vanderaa has a very real chance of out-lasting Oleinik’s one-round gas tank. I hate it, and although I fully believe that Vanderaa will win late, I am picking Oleinik.

Predicted Result: Oleinik Submission Round 1

Jared Vanderaa is a God awful watch, lacking the power to at least be a half-entertaining, brawling Heavyweight mess. By virtue of owning a chin capable of weathering a 44yr old grappler’s boxing, Vanderaa has a very real chance of out-lasting Oleinik’s one-round gas tank. I hate it, and although I fully believe that Vanderaa will win late, I am picking Oleinik.

Result: Oleinik def. Vanderaa // Submission (scarf hold) Round 1 3:39

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Anthony Hernandez vs Josh Fremd

Middleweight (185)

Anthony Hernandez (8-2)

Fluffy went AFK after shocking Rodolfo Vieira, but his victory in large part came from his superior conditioning and durability. Hernandez was able to survive long enough for Vieira to gas himself out. There is the potential that Fremd finds a hard counter early that switches off Hernandez’s lights as he flies into his combinations. More likely, Hernandez digs deep and out-cardios Fremd.

Josh Fremd (9-2)

UFC debutant, Josh Fremd, steps up on short notice which already puts him at a disadvantage in the long-haul fight that Fluffy will prefer. A powerful-ish puncher, Fremd could find success against a chin that has been cracked before. Unfortunately, Fremd will be unable to maintain a pace that threatens Hernandez outside of the opening round.

Predicted Result: Hernandez Decision

UFC debutant, Josh Fremd, steps up on short notice which already puts him at a disadvantage in the long-haul fight that Fluffy will prefer. There is the potential that Fremd finds a hard counter early that switches off Hernandez’s lights as he flies into his combinations. More likely, Hernandez digs deep and out-cardios Fremd.

Result: Hernandez def. Fremd // Decision (UD – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Piera Rodriguez vs Kay Hansen

Women’s Strawweight (115)

Piera Rodriguez (7-0)

Another UFC debutant, Piera Rodriguez is a vicious striker on the inside who carries a surprising pop. Win or lose, Rodriguez is a scrappy fighter that is far cuter than the ‘brawler’ moniker that some have tagged Rodriguez with. Picking her moments up close, Rodriguez throws clean hooks off slips. Unfortunately, it is most likely that the fight will take place almost entirely on the mat.

Kay Hansen (7-5)

Regardless of her awkward affair with the far larger Jasmine Jasudavicius, Hansen’s wrestling will prove far more potent against Rodriguez. If extended affairs take place on the feet, Hansen will be overwhelmed by Rodriguez’s cleaner work, but Hansen has regularly opened fights with a grappling-first gameplan. Even with poor decision-making, the wrestling differential is too much to overlook.

Predicted Result: Hansen Decision

Regardless of her awkward affair with the far larger Jasmine Jasudavicius, Hansen’s wrestling will prove far more potent against Rodriguez. That isn’t to say Rodriguez is a live dog, the Venezuelan is a vicious striker on the inside who carries a surprising pop. Even with Hansen’s poor decision-making, however, the wrestling differential is too much to overlook.

Result: Rodriguez def. Hansen // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Julio Arce vs Daniel Santos

Bantamweight (135)

Julio Arce (17-5)

A clean and technical striker, Arce may well have been slept by Song Yadong – but as we saw against Marlon Moraes, the Chinese prospect is fast growing as a striking threat. Walking down Andre Ewell is no easy feat, yet Arce bowled him over with relentless pressure. Santos can put together extended combinations, but we are yet to see the Brazilian throw them off the back-foot.

Daniel Santos (10-1)

If this is a battle on the outside, Daniel Santos has shown the ability over his nine-year career to piece together tasty kickboxing combinations. When you consider the two-year gap since his last fight and a lack of experience similar to Arce, it is harder to believe that Arce doesn’t find a way to win. If Santos opens up, Arce always has the wrestling ability to pound the Brazilian on the mat.

Predicted Result: Arce Decision

If this is a battle on the outside, Daniel Santos has shown the ability over his nine-year career to piece together tasty kickboxing combinations. When you consider the two-year gap since his last fight and a lack of experience similar to Arce, it is harder to believe that Arce doesn’t find a way to win. Walking down Andre Ewell is no easy feat, yet Arce bowled him over with relentless pressure.

Result: Arce def. Santos // Decision (UD – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Prediction Accuracy

UFC 273

Winner: 8/12

Method: 7/12

Round: 8/12

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 93/132

Method: 66/132

Round: 62/132

MMA Overall

Winner: 589/924

Method: 429/924

Round: 387/924

Takeaway comments: Chimaev’s hype should soar after that performance.


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