The prize battle on the event on Saturday evening makes it really feel particular. And when there are two title fights on the battle card, that doubles the enjoyment of the massive occasion. This weekend’s UFC 273 (Saturday, 10 p.m., on ESPN + PPV) presents all of that and extra. 13 fights occurred on the VyStar Veterans Memorial Enviornment in Jacksonville, Florida, full of tales and intrigue.
There’s a first within the prime ten take a look at for a rising star whose each efficiency to this point has been stunningly dominant. Two former title contenders are on the cardboard, and the 2 video games do not even depend towards the highest of the invoice. Two fights will function prospects from the ESPN rankings of the highest 25 fighters beneath the age of 25. There may also be a multi-time World Jiu-Jitsu champion and an unbeaten Olympic medalist in MMA wrestling.
That is lots of profession accomplishments packed into one evening. What are the names hooked up to it? You will discover them on this rating for Saturday’s fights, listed by leisure worth and the diploma to which it might be unwise to stray from them for refreshment.
1. Males’s Bantamweight Championship: Aljamin Sterling (center) vs Peter Jan (third place)
After Peter Jan put an unlawful knee on Aljamain Sterling’s head, the battle was known as off and Jan was disqualified, making Sterling the brand new bantamweight champion.
It is only a widespread predominant occasion, however there’s one thing superb that elevates this match above the whole lot else on the dance card. How typically can we see the hero as an underdog? Positive, it does occur sometimes – simply a few months in the past, betting odds had been stacked in opposition to Frances Ngannou in his battle in opposition to Cyril Jean – however Stirling Jan has the additional lagniappe present of rematching with a twist.
A yr in the past, within the first assembly, scientist noticed Yan in management from the beginning. However ultimately, the world turned the opposite method as Sterling emerged from the octagon along with his belt. Exchanging the title by disqualification was an the wrong way up outcome and it did not really feel in any respect an answer. That is what the rematch promised to ship.
Jan, who has since received a provisional belt, seemed like the higher man of their first battle in March 2023. However Sterling seemed higher the opposite nights. will who – which be sterling that exhibits on saturday? Will it make a distinction, or is Yan merely at a better stage? And the way completely different would every of those fighters care for, as they every spent a yr tightening their recreation and discovering methods to take advantage of the loopholes they discovered within the different’s recreation?
2. Males’s Featherweight Championship: Aleksandr Volkanovsky (centre) vs. Chan Sung Jong
Though the bantam weight battle that comes proper earlier than it has extra intrigue swirling round it, this predominant occasion is the type of rivalry that appears destined to finish the evening with a heart-warming farewell.
Volkanovski quietly grew to become one of many best featherweights of all time. Different contenders for this honor are Jose Aldo and Max Holloway, and Volkanovsky beat them – Holloway twice. There’s nothing “quiet” about it, apart from that the hero continues to pile on achievements with out taking a breath in flaunting them.
Challenger Volkanovsky on Saturday fighter was there. Younger Aldo fought for method again in 2013, shedding by TKO after injuring his shoulder. That defeat was adopted by an almost four-year absence from the appraiser whereas Younger healed accidents and carried out his navy responsibility for his nation in South Korea. However the 35-year-old has as soon as once more returned to his superior glory, dwelling as much as the nickname “Korean Zombie”.
3. Gilbert Burns vs. Khamza Shemayev
Khameyev particulars the story of how he acquired right into a battle on his first day of coaching.
For some, that is the actual predominant occasion of the evening. Undoubtedly, there’s lots of anticipation that may’t be waited for within the mild surrounding UFC’s fifth debut by Chimaev. It is a query mark boldly disguised as an exclamation level.
In smashing his first 4 enemies out of the octagon, Chimaev places collectively numbers that sound like a online game. However these features got here in opposition to fighters who had been, at greatest, on the fringes of the standings. Now comes his first high-profile take a look at, as Burns was a prime welterweight – No. 3 within the ESPN rankings – who barely a yr earlier had challenged Kamaru Usman for the title. The Brazilian is just not a sacrificial lamb, even when the account that led to this battle may simply be interpreted as portraying him as one.
If Chemayev can do to Burns what he has performed to everybody he has encountered up thus far, he may quickly be standing throughout a cage from Usman.
4. Ian Gary vs. Darrian Weeks
Shortly earlier than Chimaev will get his making second, Garry will attempt to take the following step towards constructing his talents. He is undefeated, hails from Dublin and nicknamed “The Future”, so along with any opponent earlier than him, Gary additionally had to withstand the expectations of followers who reflexively known as him “the following Conor McGregor”. This may be poisonous noise, weighing down one risk, however Gary has held up up to now. If he beats Weeks, it will not fairly elevate him as much as the middleweight competitors, however this battle is a present for him to show he has what it takes to hit the promised floor. Such an look generally is a thrill to observe.
5. Aspen Ladd vs. Raquel Pennington
That is a kind of uncommon instances the place a late substitute could pose a a lot harder hurdle than the unique. Ladd was as a result of face Irene Aldana, who needed to retire as a result of an harm, and is in increased order than her substitute. However let’s not neglect that Bennington, since becoming a member of the UFC in 2014, has by no means misplaced to nobody however Champion (2018 Amanda Nunes Problem) and former champions (Jermaine de Randamie, Jessica Andrade, and two-time Holly Holm).
Ladd, who has dropped two of the final three, can be straight again on monitor among the many bantamweight contenders if she will be able to deal with Bennington, profitable three in a row.
6. Mackenzie Dern vs Tecia Torres
Dern has six victories contained in the octagon, 4 by submission – the second-most girls’s victory in UFC historical past. The six-time world champion in jiu-jitsu was wrapping up her recreation. This can be examined on this battle between the highest 10 straws. Versatile Torres used versatile protection and an attention-grabbing capitulation strike to construct a triple profitable streak.
7. Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik Marcin Tibora
After profitable his first 4 UFC fights, all by knockout, to take his file 10-0, Rozenstruik has fallen in three of his previous 5 matches. These losses got here in opposition to absolutely the metal of the heavyweight division: Frances Ngannou, Cyril Jean and Curtis Blades. This can be a placement take a look at. The powerful Tybura was on a profitable streak of 5 fights earlier than shedding to prime 10 heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov in October.
8. Mark O. Madsen Vs. Vince Bichel
A silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling on the 2016 Olympics, Madsen is 11-0 in MMA and at instances seemed like he may develop into a light-weight competitor. However on the age of 37, he wants to choose up velocity. Since becoming a member of the UFC in 2019, the Dane has competed solely every year. And Madsen is not the one one on this match who may turn out to be a title contender. Pichel is 14-2 and has a not-so-easy win over Jim Miller.
9. Beira Rodriguez vs. Kai Hansen
Corey McKenna lands with a mild proper hand and Kai Hansen responds aggressively by scoring halfway by means of the second spherical.
The debut of an undefeated fighter within the UFC is a crossroads second – maybe the start of a golden street, or maybe the tip of the street as she knew it. Rodriguez, the previous 7-0 La Liga champion, did not pull a straightforward first job out of the octagon. Hansen misplaced two in a row and was solely 7-5, however the 22-year-old was twice in ESPN’s Prime 25 Underneath-25 Fighter rankings. There is a crossroads for Hansen, too. She (possibly) simply began.
10. Remaining Struggle Card
If we have discovered something from following MMA, it is to be anticipated that the surprising will occur when two gamers sporting 4-ounce gloves meet within the middle of the cage. It is typically an preliminary pitting of, say, an unknown in opposition to a fighter we thought had seen higher days setting the scenes all through the evening of the battle, making the followers’ blood flow into and elevating their expectations for these strolling into the octagon subsequent.
With that in thoughts, listed below are the opposite bouts at UFC 273:
Heavyweight: Alexei Oleinik vs Jared Vandera
Middleweight: Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Frimed
Welterweight: Mickey Gal vs Mike Mallot
Males’s Pants Weight: Julio Arce vs Daniel Santos