MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main card for UFC 273.
UFC 273 takes place Saturday, April 9 from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Last event’s results: 4-1
Overall picks for UFC main cards in 2022: 28-9
Welcome to MMA Junkie’s quick picks and prognostications, where I’ll be giving brief, fight-day breakdowns for UFC main cards.
With that in mind, I hope these write-ups don’t come off as curt or dismissive, as my goal here is to offer quick picks and analysis in a digestible format. All odds listed are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.
If you’d like more detailed analysis from me, then feel free to check out my weekly show, The Protect Ya’ Neck Podcast.
So, without further ado…
Matchup: Alexander Volkanovski (-800) vs. Chan Sung Jung (+470)
Summary: As stated in my in-depth breakdown, the main event for UFC 273 features a fun featherweight title fight with a wide betting spread attached.
Ronda Rousey-like odds aside, it’s nice to see Alexander Volkanovski getting some overdue respect as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. That said, I warn anyone sleeping on the WEC veteran in Chan Sung Jung, as I suspect that his counter uppercut will be extra-lively considering the champion’s short stature and dipping propensities.
Nevertheless, I’ll still be siding with Volkanovski to defuse the counters of “The Korean Zombie” with his patent feints, eventually producing a finish in the later rounds.
Matchup: Aljamain Sterling (+310) vs. Petr Yan (-450 )
Summary: As stated in my in-depth breakdown, the co-main event in Florida features a rematch that will hopefully provide some closure for both Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
Sterling has endured a lot since their first meeting, as I’ll be curious to see what adjustments he will bring to the table outside of improved pace management. Even though Yan surprised some with the success he had within the wrestling realm, I still think that mixing in takedown attempts could serve Sterling well in the big picture.
However, despite appearing to be in the shape of his life heading into this fight, I have a hard time unseeing how effective the wrist controls and counters of Yan were back at UFC 259. For that reason, I’ll be siding with Yan to pull away down the stretch for a competitive decision win.
Matchup: Gilbert Burns (+350) vs. Khamzat Chimaev (-520)
Summary: In arguably the most intriguing fight on the entire card, Gilbert Burns will be attempting to put Khamzat Chimaev to the test.
A product that has been hyped for nearly half a decade, Chimaev has undeniably caught the attention of both casuals and hardcore fans alike. And though I’m typically one to fade the hype trains until they can provide a more reliable sample size, I can’t help but see the obvious abundance of things like proprioception, fighting instinct and technical skills when watching Chimaev work.
Burns has all the offensive tools to cash as an underdog, but I suspect we’ll need a more durable welterweight in a five-round affair if we want to see Chimaev in deep waters. I wouldn’t mind being wrong, but I’ll take Chimaev to force a stoppage in the second via ground strikes.
Matchup: Mackenzie Dern (-125) vs. Tecia Torres (-102)
Summary: In a fight that should be fun for as long as it lasts, Mackenzie Dern will attempt to get back in the win column opposite Tecia Torres.
Dern’s popularity and submission savvy seem to be earning her some respect at the betting window, but I’m still not sold on the Brazilian fighter’s process and wrestling ability. Dern has some solid go-to takedowns from the clinch, but they typically come against the fence – a place where Torres defends best from.
Torres, who appears to be in the best form of her career, should also carry a significant speed and experience edge into this fight. So, unless Dern is able to catch a kick and score an opportunistic submission early, then I suspect we’ll see Torres’ superior clinch striking and stick-and-move sensibilities be the difference in a decision win
Matchup: Vinc Pichel (-118) vs. Mark Madsen (-107)
Summary: Serving as a Joe Silva-era lightweight opener, Vinc Pichel will do battle with Mark Madsen.
Despite Pichel opening as a bigger favorite, the betting lines have tightened up with money coming in on Madsen. The Dane will definitely have the wrestling edge on paper, as I suspect his Greco-style takedowns can be effective in this matchup (assuming he has worked on developing more entries).
That said, Pichel is a perennially underrated talent who can either grind or slug things out for three hard rounds. I’ll reluctantly side with the better wrestler in Madsen to be the first person to beat Pichel by decision, but I believe this will be a sweaty affair that comes down to the wire, regardless.
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