Thursday, January 27, 2022

UFC 273 fight card: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie, Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan 2 set for April

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A pair of title fights originally set to take place in March are now being moved back one month with one also getting a new challenger. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling will look to defend their crowns at UFC 273 on April 9, according to Ariel Helwani. Volkanovski, originally expected to take on Max Holloway for a third time, will now face off against Chan Sung Jung in the main event. The location for the event is still to be determined, according to Helwani.

Volkanovski (23-1) is coming off CBS Sports’ runner-up for 2021 Fight of the Year against Brian Ortega at UFC 266. Volkanovski earned his 10th straight UFC win with a hearty unanimous decision win. Prior to the Ortega fight, Volkanovski defeated Holloway via unanimous decision to first earn the title at UFC 245 in December 2019. He narrowly clutched onto his new accessory with a split decision title defense against “Blessed” seven months later.

Jung (17-6) lost his first shot at the featherweight title in 2013, suffering a TKO defeat to Jose Aldo. He was then out of action for more than three years due to mandatory military service in South Korea. Having gone 4-2 since returning to the Octagon, Jung has maintained his status as a top contender to the championship. His most recent outing was an impressive decision win over Dan Ige that helped Jung rebound from a one-sided loss to Ortega.

Sterling (20-3) was in rare form heading into the Yan fight, winning five consecutive fights against game opposition like Cory Sandhagen, Jimmie Rivera, Pedro Munhoz and Cody Stamann. He has not competed since UFC 259 in March 2021 due to lingering neck issues that required surgery.

Yan (16-2) claimed the interim UFC bantamweight title by defeating Sandhagen in a five-round Fight of the Night at UFC 267. He was on a perfect 7-0 UFC run prior to the Sterling blunder, defeating Aldo for the vacant belt and defeating long-time contenders like Urijah Faber and Rivera.

With the shuffling, UFC also moved in a non-title grudge match to the main event of UFC 272 in March when Jorge Masvidal battles Colby Covington. The two will meet on March 5 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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