Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight finishers Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung will clash TONIGHT (Sat., April 9, 2022) at UFC 273 inside VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.
Volkanovski hasn’t lost in the better part of a decade, and he’s beaten a majority of his division's legends en route to the title. As he looks to defend his title for the third time, Volkanovski has a chance to really make a statement opposite an unplanned foe. His second pay-per-view (PPV) headliner is an opportunity to raise his star versus a popular opponent. For Jung, this title shot sort of fell into his lap, and at 35 years of age, it’s likely to be his last chance at capturing UFC gold. The pressure is on for “The Korean Zombie,” who will have to live up to the moment as a significant underdog.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Max Holloway (UFC 251, UFC 245), Brian Ortega (UFC 266), Jose Aldo (UFC 237), Chad Mendes (UFC 232), Darren Elkins (UFC Fight Night 133)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Volkanovski is a well-rounded and physical threat who consistently enters fights with the correct strategy. An elite competitor, there’s a reason Volkanovski has established himself as one of the best fighters on the planet.
Volkanovski’s big advantage in this fight is his footwork. He could probably employ a pressure, box and wrestle gameplan versus Jung, but historically, dragging Jung to the canvas has rarely been a consistent path to success. Even as the shorter man, Volkanovski’s fleeter feet and superior range work are likely to dictate this fight.
It all starts at long range. Volkanovski has the sharper jab, though he has to be wary of Jung’s favorite cross counter and slip-uppercut. If Volkanovski can establish the lead hand, his lead kick, and chopping low kick, he’ll be landing and forcing Jung to come his way.
Once that happens, several opponents have done well in timing Jung’s charges forward. Volkanovski’s intercepting right hand is already a great strength, but if he can time it while Jung is shifting between stances, he may just be able to score his first finish in a title fight.
Chan Sung Jung
Key Wins: Dustin Poirier (UFC on Fuel TV 3), Renato Moicano (UFC Fight Night 154), Frankie Edgar (UFC 231), Dennis Bermudez (UFC Fight Night 104), Mark Hominick (UFC 140), Leonard Garcia (UFC Fight Night 24)
Key Losses: Jose Aldo (UFC 163), Brian Ortega (UFC Fight Island 6), Yair Rodriguez (UFC Fight Night 139), George Roop (WEC 51)
Keys to Victory: Jung is an offense-first fighter. He’s got good head movement and slick counters, sure, but “The Korean Zombie” didn’t earn his nickname by playing it safe.
There are a couple major keys here for Jung. First and foremost, he has to get a touch lighter on his feet and work hard to keep up with Volkanovski’s volume at distance. Jung may do well in setting his stance and staying on a hair trigger with his counter punches, but Volkanovski is likely too smart to walk into something devastating if he’s able to safely win at range. Methodical pressure and more kicks would benefit Jung in that regard, too — it’s never good if the taller man is throwing fewer kicks than his shorter opponent.
In addition, I’d really like to see Jung mix it up with his takedown attempts like he did vs. Dan Ige. Brian Ortega found good success in catching Volkanovski’s kicks and either firing punches or wrestling, and that’s a strategy Jung should look to emulate.
If Jung is pressuring, wrestling, countering kicks, and stabbing the body with his toes, all that increases the odds that his heavy right hand connects at some point.
It’s not the Featherweight title fight originally planned, but it’s a darn fun match up.
It’s been a while since Volkanovski faced a really physical pocket boxer. This is a different style match up from all the rangy kickboxers he’s recently faced, and it’s going to be really interesting to see how he addresses Jung’s weapons. It’s another chance to prove his smarts and talents, further establishing himself as Featherweights king.
With a win, Max Holloway likely still awaits.
Jung is in his 15th year as a professional fighter and isn’t young for the division, so it’s very clear that this will be his last chance to capture Featherweight gold. “The Korean Zombie” already has a legacy set in stone as a fan favorite and action fighter, but winning tonight allows him to add champion to that resume, as well as becoming another great example of a long-time veteran persevering to the title.
At UFC 273, Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung will scrap in the main event. Which man leaves the cage as champion?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 273 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then 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+ PPV.
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