UFC 273 was a night we’ll all remember. The three main fights didn’t disappoint while the rest of the card played out well for some future contenders. Volkanovski retains his Featherweight title with a win over Korean Zombie. Khamzat squeaks by in a split decision win over Gilbert Burns. Aljamain Sterling’s revenge tour over Yan came to fruition with a tight matchup vs Petr Yan. The odds were heavily lopsided. The prelims showed Ian Garry put on a great performance, Dern shows her boxing and BJJ skills in another split decision.
Alexander Volkanovski – Most people know he’s one of the best pound for pound in the world. It seems he wants everyone to know it. He fights anyone, anywhere and he does it so smoothly. The Featherweight champ is off a tight win where he could’ve easily tapped out to Brian Ortega’s submission attempts. Ortega faced off against worthy opponent in Jung Chan-Sun. Volk dominated the entire fight until The Korean Zombie barely survived the third round. The champ jumped right on the South Korean immediately in the fourth round that forced referee in the octagon, Herb Dean to stop the fight and save Jung from further damage. Volkanovski came to this fight to prove his worth and his status in the fight game. He preached it at the press conference and in interviews. The public wasn’t sold on Volkanovski but after this performance and the fact that Holloway pulled out of this fight has elevated the current champ’s stock.
Who’s Next? Former champ Max Holloway, Calvin Kattar, Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. All three have a claim to a title shot but who will be the first to come up. Putting Holloway in there and having Ortega fight Yair for the #1 contender spot looks to be the best case scenario. If Volkanovski can clear another two or three title defenses, we shouldn’t be surprised if the Aussie retires as the best P4P Featherweight of all time.
Gilbert Burns – This wannabe blogger is on the record that Gilbert fought his best fight against an aged Tyron Woodley. That fight was earned him a title shot against Kamaru Usman. Usman, with motivation to end the fight did just that and turned Burns into a statistic. There’s nothing worse for a fighter than when he loses so bad that his credibility goes down with them. Gilbert bounced back hard with a Unanimous decision win over gatekeeper Stephen Thompson and at UFC 273, as a +400 underdog, Burns showed the world that he wouldn’t be “smeshed” by killer Khamzat Chimaev. In Khamzat’s first fight versus a top ten ranked fighter, he showed a weakness. Better yet Burns exposed a weakness. Durinho is a warrior and deserves all the respect in the world for his last three fights. He has a positive attitude, is very likeable and we wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Burns will be fighting for a title in the near future.
Who’s next? #4 Vicente Luque is scheduled to fight #5 Belal Muhammad. Burns will surely drop in rankings. Burns vs the winner of Luque and Belal would be ideal for his title hopes.
Mackenzie Dern – The most impressive aspect of Dern’s performance is her boxing. Not surprised since she’s been working with Jason Parillo, one of if not the best boxing coach for MMA in the world. Der won a split decision against a tough Tecia Torres. Dern dominated the first round on the ground when she locked in a series of submission that Torres was able to escape. On the feet, it was more even but we did see Dern’s striking IQ showcase itself on Saturday night. Dern is know to be the best grappler in women’s MMA and now adding this high level striking to her arsenal would definitely fast track her to a title shot.
Who’s next? Marina Rodriguez and Dern have already faced off where Marina secured a decision victory. Currently at #5, Dern would need to punch up to #4 ranked Yan Xiaonan. Yan is ranked #4 right now but is coming in with two consecutive losses to #2 Carla Esparza and #3 Marina Rodriguez.
Khamzat Chimaev – The man. The Myth. The Legend. When Brian Stann got up at UFC Fan Expo and described a Swedish wrestler that has yet to be noticed and will come to the UFC and give the welterweight division some serious problems. Khamzat had been punched in the face two times in his four previous UFC fights. Against Gilbert Burns at UFC 273, Khamzat landed 124 punches and was on the bad end of 141 of Burns’ strikes. Khamzat was able to secure two takedowns but that’s what we expected. Khamzat’s stock rose when he stood up after a three round brawl and showed everyone he can get cracked and still walk through anyone that stands in front of him.
Who’s Next? Colby Covington, Neil Magny and Sean Brady. Depends on where Khamzat lands in rankings this week, he should fight one of these three. Magny has been calling for the fight while Colby has been yapping about Khamzat since he made his UFC debut in 2020.
Aljamain Sterling – Out of everyone that fought at UFC 273, Aljo is by far the one guy that overcame the most adversity. Aljo’s rep and honor was being dragged through the mud after he won the Bantamweight belt via disqualification. Petr Yan delivered a devastating knee while Sterling was considered to be a downed opponent. The last fourteen months, Aljo has been doing interviews and not shying away from the public. ALmost becoming a full fledge heal in the meantime. At UFC 273 he retained and redeemed his title with a split decision win over Petr Yan. Aljo winning the rematch sets the division on fire.
Who’s Next ? Yan again? Maybe. Did TJ Dillashaw do enough to get a shot? Fresh off of a split decision win over former title contender Cory Sandhage, he deserves a shot. Jose Aldo? ON a three fight win streak after losing the vacant title shot vs Yan.