UFC 273 went down last night (Sat., April 9, 2022) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., featuring two title fights. In the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of the evening, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Chan Sung Jung via fourth round technical knockout (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Aljamain Sterling defeated Petr Yan via split decision to unify the Bantamweight belt (recap here).
Biggest Winner: Alexander Volkanovski
We can go any route here, so it really doesn’t matter who gets the top spot because there were so many important and impressive wins last night, but Alexander Volkanovski takes the mantle for his utter dominance of Jung. “The Great” has still somewhat struggled to get the respect a champion of his caliber deserves, but hopefully he earned some from the critics after taking it to “Korean Zombie” before ultimately stopping him in the fourth round. That is now three straight title defenses for the Australian champion, and 21 consecutive victories overall. Volkanovski is on his way to solidify his spot as one of the best 145-pound champions of all time, though he still has a long way to go to match Jose Aldo’s reign. Still, “The Great” proved he is just that and he isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.
Runner (s) Up: Aljamain Sterling and Khamzat Chimaev
For all the criticism Sterling received after his disqualification win over Yan in their first encounter, “Funkmaster” proved he’s the real deal after taking a second win over the Russian bomber, though it was a razor-thin split decision (see scorecard here). Nevertheless, Sterling showed grit and persevered to unify the titles and, whether you love him or hate him, he took his respect last night and answered questions many had. As for Chimaev, he also erased some doubt regarding his capability to be able to go the distance against a top-ranked opponent after defeating the No. 2-ranked fighter at Welterweight in Gilbert Burns. Though he had several shining moments, what really upped Chimaev’s stock was the fact that he took plenty of damage and kept on ticking, pushed through adversity and picked up the win. Not only does he go him with his eleventh straight win and an extra $50,000 post-fight bonus check, but he likely earned himself a big fight against Colby Covington next.
Biggest Loser: Chan Sung Jung
Look, “Korean Zombie” has earned his stripes, is a fan-favorite and putting him in this spot is not a knock on him in anyway. But, the beating and defeat he suffered at the hands of Volkanovski was one-sided from the jump. The Australian champion proved his simply a tick (or two) above everyone else at the moment and Jung was, unfortunately, the latest notch on his belt. “Korean Zombie” drops to 1-2 in his last three fights and 0-2 all time in UFC title fights. He is still one of the most beloved fighters in the game and his tenacity and durability has always been respected, but after taking a ton of damage (again), you can’t blame some for thinking that a decline is looming. I — and many others — certainly hope not, but a win is of the utmost importance in his next fight. And while he is known for taking damage and pushing forward as his nickname suggests, maybe changing his tactics and mindset moving forward would be best for his need to obtain wins, as well as for his health.
For complete UFC 273: “Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie” results and play-by-play, click HERE.