UFC 273 lineup set with two title fights, six bouts on main card in Jacksonville6 min read
The lineup is set for next week’s UFC return to Florida, and the pay-per-view has a pair of title fights atop the bill.
UFC 273 takes place April 9 at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
In the main event, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (23-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC) puts his title on the line against former title challenger Chan Sung Jung (17-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC), better known as “The Korean Zombie.”
In the co-feature, bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) takes on former champ and interim titleholder Petr Yan (16-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in a title rematch. Sterling won the belt against Yan in a controversial disqualification in March 2021.
The UFC has a rare six fights on the main card with four other bouts joining the title fights.
Dive into the event below.
Featherweight title fight: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung
Sep 25, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski is introduced before fighting Brian Ortega during UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Volkanovski has yet to lose in the UFC. In fact, the 33-year-old Australian hasn’t lost in nearly nine years overall. He took the featherweight title with a unanimous decision win over Max Holloway in December 2019. He beat him by split call in July 2020 in their rematch. Then he dominated Brian Ortega in September 2021. Volkanovski and Holloway were supposed to fight for a third time earlier this month, but a Holloway injury took him out of the fight and “The Korean Zombie” got the call.
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – OCTOBER 18: (R-L) ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung battles Brian Ortega in their featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on October 18, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jung will get his latest title shot with three wins in his past four fights. He knocked out Renato Moicano and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar in the first round in 2019. Each of those KOs earned him an extra $50,000 in bonus money. After a loss to Ortega, the “Zombie” bounced back in June 2021 with a unanimous decision over Dan Ige.
Bantamweight title fight: Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan
Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling
Sterling won the bantamweight title when Yan hit him with an illegal knee in the fourth round in March 2021 and Sterling was unable to continue. Sterling had gotten his title shot against Yan on the strength of five straight wins, including a first-round submission of Cory Sandhagen. His rematch with Yan will be his first title defense and first bout since the DQ win in their first fight.
When Sterling couldn’t fight in their scheduled rematch this past October, Yan fought Sandhagen, instead, in an interim title bout and took a unanimous decision to bounce back from his first loss in nearly five years.
Welterweight main card fight: Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev
Gilbert Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) has the unenviable task of trying to be the first one to stop Khamzat Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC). Burns challenged welterweight champion Kamaru Usman for the title in February 2021 and was knocked out in the third round. He bounced back with a win over former title challenger Stephen Thompson at UFC 264.
Chimaev has been relentless in his first four UFC fights. He has all four of his wins in the promotion by stoppage, and all four have earned him $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses. He’s coming off a first-round submission of Jingliang Li this past October after a 13-month layoff while he recovered from COVID-19 effects.
Women’s strawweight main card fight: Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres
Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres
Mackenzie Dern (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) takes on Tecia Torres (13-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) in a key women’s fight at 115 pounds. Dern will be looking to get back on track after a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez this past October. That setback snapped a four-fight winning streak that had her in title contention. Three of those wins were first-round finishes.
Against Torres, she meets a resurgent opponent who was on the ropes with four straight decision losses to former champions Jessica Andrade, Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili, plus Rodriguez. But since June 202, she has bounced back with three wins in a row over Brianna Fortino, Sam Hughes and Angela Hill.
Heavyweight main card fight: Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Ilir Latifi vs. Aleksei Oleinik
The fight between Ilir Latifi (15-8 MMA, 8-6 UFC) and Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1 MMA, 8-7 UFC) was rebooked for UFC 273 after it was scrapped just hours before the fighters were supposed to step into the cage at UFC on ESPN 33 in Columbus, Ohio. A Latifi illness on fight day forced it to be rescheduled.
Latifi got back in the win column after a three-fight skid with a split decision over Tanner Boser in June 2021. Oleinik has lost three straight for the first time in his lengthy career.
Middleweight main card fight: Dricus Du Plessis vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Jul 10, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Dricus du Plessis celebrates his knockout victory against Trevin Giles during UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Dricus Du Plessis (16-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will step in on short notice to take on former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum (17-8 MMA, 11-8 UFC). Gastelum stayed on the card after his original opponent, Nassourdine Imavov, pulled out this week.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 21: (L-R) Kelvin Gastelum punches Jared Cannonier in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Gastelum has been on a rough run. He has dropped five of his past six fights, but they’ve come against nothing but the top fighters at middleweight: current champ Israel Adesanya, Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, former champ Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier. Before his current two-fight skid to Whittaker and Cannonier, he snapped a three-fight skid with a February 2021 win over Ian Heinisch.
Du Plessis, a 28-year-old prospect from South Africa, has finishes in both his UFC fights so far. He knocked out Markus Perez in the first round in October 2020, then finished Trevin Giles with a second-round TKO in July 2021.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 16: (L-R) Aspen Ladd punches Norma Dumont of Brazil in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
Aspen Ladd vs. Raquel Pennington
Ian Garry vs. Darian Weeks
Josh Fremd vs. Anthony Hernandez
Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Marcin Tybura
ESPN+ Early Prelims
Mickey Gall vs. Mike Malott
PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET)
Mickey Gall vs. Mike Malott
Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos
Mark Madsen vs. Vinc Pichel
Kay Hansen vs. Piera Rodriguez
Key betting odds
The top three fights on the main card all feature heavy favorites. In the main event, featherweight champ Volkanovski is a -800 favorite at Tipico; the comeback on challenger Jung is +470.
In the bantamweight title rematch, former champion and current interim champ Yan is a -500 favorite against Sterling, who is +340. That makes Yan even more of a favorite this time around than their first bout, in which he closed around -400.
Chimaev is a -600 favorite against former welterweight title challenger Burns. But that’s old hat for Chimaev, who has been that big of a favorite or more in his first four UFC fights – all of which have been bonus-winning finishes.
Gastelum is a -160 favorite against Du Plessis, who is a mild underdog at +125. The fight between Dern and Torres nearly is a pick’em with Dern at -115 and Torres -110. And in their rescheduled fight, Latifi is a -230 favorite against the +175 Oleinik – about the same as they were before their UFC on ESPN 33 bout was scrapped the day of the event five days ago.