UFC 273 Prelim Card
Julio Arce takes on Daniel Santos in a bantamweight bout to open the card. Expect Arce to come out on top.
Piera Rodriguez meets Kay Hansen in a women's strawweight encounter. Rodriguez, a Dana White Contender Series winner, hopes to get her first UFC win against the young Hansen.
Anthony Hernandez clashes with Josh Frernd in a middleweight tilt. Oddsmakers are favoring Hernandez to edge the contest, and I can see him getting it done by choke or punches.
Heavyweight veteran Aleksei Oleinik battles Jared Vanderaa. This is essentially a pick ‘em fight that can go either way depending on where the fight goes.
Vinc Pichel takes on Mark O. Madsen in a lightweight bout. Despite being undefeated, Madsen is a slight underdog to Pichel that has done well against wrestlers as of late. The power and growing experience of the Olympian makes me favor the Dane.
Mickey Gall returns to action when he faces Mike Malott in a welterweight outing. However, Malott is expected to come out on top as he is a relative favorite.
Aspen Ladd faces Raquel Pennington in women's bantamweight action. Despite the potential of Ladd, “Rocky” is a decent favorite. A good matchup of a former title contender against the young Ladd. I’d put a play on Aspen to push the pace and get a decision.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik meets Marcin Tybura in a heavyweight encounter. Oh, this should be a good one. Both fighters were on their way up but have seen losing records in their recent bouts. Rozenstruik will get the win if he avoids getting put on his back and out-grappled over 15 minutes.
Irish prospect Ian Garry takes on Darian Weeks in a welterweight bout. Garry is a big favorite and one should expect him to remain undefeated and continue his rise and continue to build on his Cage Warriors belt credentials.
UFC 273 Main Card
Mackenzie Dern (11-2) v Tecia Torres (13-5)
Mackenzie Dern will look to return to the win column against Tecia Torres in the women’s strawweight bout. Dern is coming off a unanimous decision defeat to Marina Rodriguez back in October. It snapped a four-fight winning streak for Dern, however she admits to a knee injury.
Torres, meanwhile, is on a winning streak. After losing four in a row, Torres has defeated Brianna Van Buren, Sam Hughes and Angela Hill. With her overall experience, this fight is essentially a pick’em that can go either way. Dern keeps improving on the feet, and I think the Brazilian blooded American will get a decision win.
Gilbert Burns (20-4) v Khamzat Chimaev (10-0)
This is my main event. Gilbert Burns takes on Khamzat Chimaev in a highly-intriguing welterweight contest. Burns bounced back from his welterweight title defeat to Kamaru Usman with a unanimous decision win over Stephen Thompson. The Brazilian remains a top threat at welterweight and is 5-1 in the division since moving up, and with his world class grappling and explosive standup can beat anyone.
“Durinho” is biggest test for Chimaev yet. The Sweden based fighter remains undefeated and is coming off an impressive first-round submission win over Li Jingliang. However, not everyone remains convinced by him as he is yet to face adversity or let any fight go into the third round.
Despite his inexperience compared to Burns, “Borz” is still a huge favorite over Burns, and should come out on top. With 4 perfect UFC wins, a 5th here against his first title challenger will put Khamzat up for the title shot he craves.
Aljamain Sterling (20-3) v Petr Yan (16-2)
The long-awaited rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan takes place in a bantamweight title unification bout. Their first meeting took place in March last year when Yan lost his bantamweight title to Sterling after an illegal knee in the fourth round. The bout seemed to take a turn in Yan’s favor, and hence controversy exploded after Sterling left with the belt.
Since then, Sterling would undergo a neck surgery while Yan would comfortably outpoint Cory Sandhagen to win the interim bantamweight crown. Sterling claims he is now 100% and ready to close his chapter with Yan in emphatic fashion. Sterling has power early and creative submissions, but if he doesn’t get an early stoppage, Yan should come out on top as he has unmatched cardio and pressure.
Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) v The Korean Zombie (17-6)
The headliner sees Alexander Volkanovski defend his featherweight title against the “Korean Zombie”. Volkanovski was originally slated to fight Max Holloway in a trilogy fight at this event. However, injury forced Holloway out with the Zombie getting his second shot at winning featherweight gold.
Zombie bounced back from his defeat to Brian Ortega with a dominant unanimous decision win over Dan Ige. Overall, he is 3-1 in his last four fights as he remains a top force in the featherweight division. However, Volkanovski is one of the pound-for-pound best fighters on the planet.
He not only defeated Holloway twice, but is also coming off a dominant unanimous decision win over Ortega. While Zombie has power and durability, he is not as well-rounded as Volkanovski who is in his prime.
It comes as no surprise that “The Great” is a massive favorite and I’d expect him to win most of the 5-round title bout to retain the belt.
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About Ryan O’Leary
Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news since 2008.