After a weekend with the lights of the octagon darkened, the UFC is back this weekend with their April pay-per-view offering – UFC 273, emanating from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. We get two title fights at the top of the card, plus the return of perhaps the hottest prospect in the sport. Here are my UFC 273 predictions.
All odds courtesy of PointsBet
Alexander Volkanovski (-750) vs Chan Sung Jung
UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski just may be the best fighter in the world currently. If it’s not him, then he’s second only to Kamaru Usman. Which helps to explain the swollen moneyline for this fight. While ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung is a dangerous fighter, the champ is too cerebral and too damn good to get caught here. Volkanovski retains, probably via decision.
Petr Yan (-475) vs Aljamain Sterling
Our second title fight, this one for the bantamweight championship, is also a one-sided affair on the boards. While Aljamain Sterling is technically the champion, he only has the crown due to Petr Yan illegally kneeing him in their first meeting. While there is a lot of revisionist history about that first fight and how much Yan was dominating it (Sterling actually landed more strikes than Yan and was winning on one of the judge’s scorecards), I don’t see Sterling winning this fight. Yan figured him out in the first fight and was destroying him before his boneheaded move.
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) March 7, 2021
Khamzat Chimaev (-550) vs Gilbert Burns
Our third squash match of the night features the top prospect in the whole sport, Khamzat Chimaev. While former title challenger Gilbert Burns is his toughest test by far, I still think he steamrolls him. ‘Borz’ is too big and young and too talented a grappler and striker to be stopped at this point. Onwards and upwards.
Tecia Torres (-105) vs Mackenzie Dern
We go from massive favorites to basically a pick ’em fight at women’s strawweight. I’m going with the slight underdog, ‘The Tiny Tornado’ Tecia Torres. She’s been on a late-career tear as of late, winning three straight fights, and is a far better striker than Mackenzie Dern. While she’s been taken down by a lot of fighters in her career, Dern’s takedown success rate is lacking, so as long as Torres can keep upright against the grappling queen, I think she can win via decision.
Mark Madsen (+108) vs Vinc Pichel
My second dog of the night is Mark O. Madsen – the ‘O’ standing for ‘The Olympian’. The Olympic silver medalist in wrestling is going up against a guy whose two career losses have come to wrestlers. So we’re getting an 11-0 MMA fighter with an Olympic medal in wrestler going up against a fighter older than him who has lost to wrestlers in the past AND we’re getting plus money?! Sign me up!
Ian Garry (-375) vs Darian Weeks
Ian Garry is called ‘The Future’ for a reason, and his perfect 8-0 as a 24-year-old speaks to that. While he may be a bit overhyped (must be an Irish fighter thing), he still has the complete package to beat a well-rounded, tough fighter like Darian Weeks.
Marcin Tybura (+132) vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Let’s get some more of that sweet plus money! Marcin Tybura has the grappling and wrestling chops to muddy up this fight against Jairzinho Rozenstruik, as well as the experience avoiding heavy hitters. I think he can grapple his way to an underdog win.
Raquel Pennington (-190) vs Aspen Ladd
I’m selling all my Aspen Ladd stock after her recent lackluster performances and seemingly endless battles with the scale on weigh-in day. Raquel Pennington, even on short notice, is a bad matchup for her as she’s the better striker and is physically strong enough to dictate where the fight takes place.
Mike Mallot (-200) vs Mickey Gall
Next, I’m going with my fellow Canadian, Mike Mallot, against veteran Mickey Gall. While Gall has improved his striking as of late, it is still miles behind the debuting Mallot’s. ‘Proper’ pieces him up on the feet in his proper UFC debut.
Aleksei Oleinik (-110) vs Jared Vanderaa
In this heavyweight battle, I’ll take the oldest fighter on the UFC roster, the 44-year-old Aleksei Oleinik. Jared Vanderaa is stepping in here on short notice, hasn’t looked very good over his four UFC fights (1-3), and has lost via submission twice in his career. Meanwhile, ‘The Boa Constrictor’ has 46(!!!) career wins via submission!
Anthony Hernandez (-190) vs Josh Fremd
You’ve got to back a fighter named ‘Fluffy’, right?! Anthony Hernandez is a very solid fighter, sporting an 8-2 (1 NC) record, and Josh Fremd is making his UFC debut on short notice. I’ll go with the veteran and known quantity.
Piera Rodriguez (-125) vs Kay Hansen
Fading one newcomer, but picking another one here in Piera Rodriguez. She’s got great power, with five knockouts in seven career wins, and Kay Hansen will have trouble outmuscling her I think.
Julio Arce (-195) vs Daniel Santos
In the curtain jerker, give me Julio Arce. The veteran is too much of a step up for the debuting Daniel Santos, whose wild style will probably get him picked off by the vet.
Overall Record: 688-496
Return on Investment: 3.9%