UFC 273, which takes place this weekend (Sat., April 9, 2022) inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., will feature two championship title fights.
In the five-round Featherweight main event, reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski will put his 145-pound strap on the line against former title challenger and No. 4-ranked division contender, Chan Sung Jung. Prior to that cross-continent clash of styles, Aljamain Sterling will make his first Bantamweight title defense against interim titleholder, Petr Yan, who lost to “Funk Master” by way of disqualification more than one year back.
Two solid fights, two championship storylines.
But, all the talk heading into the pay-per-view (PPV) event is the main card showdown pitting former title challenger and No. 2-ranked Welterweight, Gilbert Burns, against undefeated wrestling phenom, Khamzat Chimaev. Not only can “Borz” crack the Top 10 with a victory over “Durinho,” but he can also position himself for a shot at the 170-pound title, soon to be up for grabs in the Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards showdown later this year.
So what makes Chimaev so special?
“This guy is like nothing anyone has ever seen,” UFC President, Dana White, recently told TMZ Sports. “When you think about it, he’s got more UFC wins than he’s been hit inside the Octagon. It’s insane. [At UFC 267] they filmed his walkout on Instagram Live and it broke the record. It’s the biggest Instagram Live we’ve ever done.”
The 27-year-old Chimaev (10-0) is already 4-0 under the UFC banner and coming off last October’s destruction of “Leech” Li Jingliang at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi, but his strength of schedule has failed to impress some of the bigger names in the division.
“Last time I said I am the king here,” Chimaev said on The DC Check In. “You know, I was screaming all over the arena. I am the king and nobody wants to stop me. Everyone’s talking like ‘the guy is not Top 10, he didn’t beat that, didn’t beat this,’ but nobody like to stay in my way and stop me. I am here. Dana White promised me after that fight, ‘you gonna fight for the title.’ I trust that guy, we will see.”
Burns (20-4), meanwhile, is a proven commodity at 170 pounds and has captured seven of his last eight, including last July’s unanimous decision victory over Stephen Thompson. And it sounds like “Durinho” — a massive betting underdog — would relish the role of spoiler.
“I’m on my way back to the title,” Burns told reporters at the UFC 273 press conference. “I gave this guy the opportunity. I’m the No. 2 [ranked welterweight], he’s No. 11. I gave him the opportunity because I want to face the toughest guys, the best guys in this division. It’s just going to be another step closer to the title. We are the real main event. No disrespect to the champions for sure. Sorry Volkanovski, but we’re the people’s main event.”
We’ll find out in less than 48 hours.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 273 fight card on fight night, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
For more news and notes on UFC 273 be sure to visit our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated, revised, and finalized “Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie” fight card and ESPN+ PPV lineup click here.