UFC 273 Preview


2022 has already proven to be an enthralling year for mixed martial arts, with the UFC in particular laying on some riveting events for it’s ever-growing fanbase.

We’ve seen both Israel Adesanya and Francis Ngannou defend their respective belts, as well as Deiveson Figueiredo emerge victorious from his trilogy fight with Brandon Moreno. This goes without mentioning the insane London card two weeks prior, and it seems UFC 273 is set to continue this trend in similar style.

With two belts on the line, alongside an extremely anticipated Welterweight matchup, Sunday’s event could prove to outdo its annual predecessors so far.

Early Prelims

  • Piera Rodriguez vs. Kay Hansen (Women’s Strawweight)
  • Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos (Bantamweight)
  • Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Fremd (Middleweight)
  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Jared Vanderaa (Heavyweight)
  • Vinc Pichel vs. Mark Masden (Lightweight)

The tie between Anthony Hernandez and Josh Fremd will certainly be one to look out for, with the latter making his promotion debut. Fremd is eager to show MMA fans what he can do, telling BJPENN.com “I’m confident I will get the knockout.”

A heavyweight battle between Aleksei Oleinik and Jared Vanderaa acts as the card’s penultimate bout, and is another matchup that will have caught the eye of many enthusiasts. ‘The Boa Constrictor’ is definitely an accomplished veteran of the sport, utilising his Sambo skillset over 76 professional fights. Oleinik has, however, lost his last three bouts, and he’ll be taking on a fighter in Vanderaa who similarly fell short against Andrei Arlovski in his previous matchup.


Preliminary Card

UFC 273’s undercard currently contains some mouth-watering fights. In an ever-changing schedule, the experienced Mickey Gall looks set to face hot prospect Mike Malott in his UFC introduction. It seems President Dana White has high expectations for the Canadian, who won via submission in last year’s Contender Series.

Women’s Bantamweight duo Aspen Ladd and Raquel Pennington will enter the octagon next. The pair currently rank fourth and seventh in the division respectively, although the latter is coming off the back of three successive victories. The fight will certainly be in Pennington’s favour should it go to the ground, and it will be intriguing to see if Pennington attempts to hit an early takedown to avoid Ladd’s powerful striking.

The prelims are set to continue with a heavyweight showstopper between big-hitting duo Jairzinho Rozenstruik (#8) and Marcin Tyburya (#10). There aren’t many pundits out there who see this one going the distance, and both come into Sunday’s event off the back of losses to Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov respectively. Rozenstruik has consistently taken on the division’s deadliest personnel since his UFC debut back in 2019, and his previous performances have seen him enter the weekend’s event as slight favourite.

The name on many UFC enthusiasts’ lips at present is Ian Garry, an Irish prospect who took to the promotion by storm with his first-round knockout of Jordan Williams back in November. ‘The Future’ definitely has a growing hype-train behind him, but he cannot take fellow welterweight Darian Weeks lightly on Sunday night. Talented stand-up game will clash in this matchup, and it’s difficult to see either fighter taking this one to the canvas.


Main Card

UFC 273’s main card was originally meant to begin with a middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Dricus Du Plessis, however the former title challenger was forced to withdraw from the event due to injury. Gastelum told fans on Twitter:

“I was advised not to disclose the injury, but just know, I am compromised, and I can’t and won’t be heading into the fight compromised the way that I am.”

It will now kick off with a Women’s Strawweight tie involving Mackenzie Dern and Tecia Torres. Dern is, at present, ranked fifth in the division, and the 29-year-old comes into the card off the back of a loss to Mariana Rodriguez. Her octagon counterpart places two rankings below her, and ‘The Tiny Tornado’ will be looking to combine her taekwondo and karate skillset with the aim of finishing her opponent before the final bell. Look out for Torres’ dangerous kicking game throughout the three rounds.

The next fight is certainly one that will attract a multitude of viewers from across the globe. The experienced Gilbert Burns takes on top promotion prospect Khamzat Chimaev in a welterweight battle. ‘Durinho’ currently ranks second in the division, and is well-known for excelling in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a sport in which he has won four gold medals across world competitions. The 35-year-old’s stand-up game shouldn’t be dismissed either, being one of few fighters to knock down pound-for-pound champion Kamaru Usman in their matchup last year.

Chimaev, or ‘Borz’, has experienced a dramatic rise within the promotion since arriving two years ago. The three-time Swedish wrestling champion has glided through his opponents to-date with ease, most recently submitting Li Jinglang in the first round last October. Not one of his ten professional wins have gone the distance, and, just like Burns, Chimaev acts as an aggressive wrestler. The clash of styles have made many ponder as to whether the bout may be forced to remain on the feet, where the 27-year-old’s size and stature would surely give him an advantage.

UFC 273’s co-main event sees bad blood re-boil. The rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan has been highly anticipated ever since their controversial bout last year. The American emerged victorious at UFC 259 due to his opponent’s disqualification for an illegal knee, something that many pundits believe should have resulted in a no-contest instead. ‘Funk Master’ is known for his striking creativity and ground-game – the 32-year-old will constantly be looking for a takedown on Sunday, where he can utilise his wrestling skillset.

Yan’s takedown defence was clear to see in the first fight, however, and across his career the Russian has managed to deny 89% of his opponents’ attempts. ‘No Mercy’ comes into UFC 273 as interim champion, after beating fellow contender Cory Sandhagen back in October. His overwhelming striking seemed to be proving unbearable for Sterling last time out, and he averages 5.98 significant strikes per minute. It’s no wonder Yan is entering the event as clear favourite, especially given his opponent’s recent neck issues.

The main event sees Alexander Volkanovski defend his belt for the third time against #4 ranked featherweight Chan Sung Jung. The Australian is coming off the back of a blockbuster win against rival Brian Ortega, a bout which many considered the best fight of 2021. Volkanovski’s main attribute is his immense stamina, which allows him to get out of extremely compromising situations. ‘The Great’ is also known for his overwhelming stand-up game, which sees him constantly moving forward and giving his foe zero chance at rest. These physical attributes have seen the Australian unbeaten in the UFC, although he’ll be coming up against a fan-favourite in Jung this weekend.

The ‘Korean Zombie’ earned his nickname through a similar fighting style to Volkanovski. Jung will often take shots in order to land those of his own, while utilising a striking skillset containing elements of kickboxing and taekwondo. He became a fan favourite for his duo of fights against Leonard Garcia, where he utilised the rarely-witnessed Twister submission. The South Korean finds himself ranked fourth in the division, and this will be his second time fighting for the Featherweight Title after losing out to Jose Aldo back in 2013.

The clash of styles may again make this fight difficult to call, and we could see Jung try and shoot an early takedown where he can call upon his submission arsenal. As fans saw at UFC 266, however, Volkanovski is a particularly tricky opponent to force a tap from.

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