UFC 273 Picks & Predictions: Who Ya Got?

Main Card Picks

Alexander Volkanovski (-720) vs. Chan Sung Jung (+500)

Volkanovski has shown himself to be an absolute warrior who can be dragged into deep waters and come out ahead. We all saw the deep chokehold Ortega had around his neck, not once but twice, during his last title entanglement in the Octagon. The choke was so deep that Volkanovski’s gurgling could be heard and his eyes were starting to fade to black. Thousands of other fighters have tapped or been choked out with that kind of a stranglehold. Volkanovski’s comeback was unreal and rare and really showcased his durability and relentless will to overcome. I’m not sure that even the Korean Zombie who has built a brand from being able to walk through punches can match Volkanovski’s grit, strength, and determination.

Our pick to win: Alexander Volkanovski

Petr Yan (-475) vs. Aljamain Sterling (+350)

The last time these two squared off for the belt, it was plain to see that Petr Yan had Aljamain Sterling fully figured out before throwing it all away with that illegal knee. It’s hard to picture Sterling getting past one of the most adaptable fighters and best boxers in the sport especially when Yan already had him figured out and was piecing him up for 20 minutes straight before the infamous illegal knee. As much as I would love for Aljo to reclaim his title, I think Yan is going to outstrike him on the feet, shut down his wrestling and claim the undisputed title, for real this time.

Our pick to win: Peter Yan

Khamzat Chimaev (-550) vs. Gilbert Burns (+400)

Even though Khamzat is the lesser-experienced fighter in the Octagon and ranked much lower than Burns, he is favored to win. Khamzat has a lot of hype behind him and a much bigger social media presence than Burns but still, he has not faced the top-ranked fighters, nor the current pound-for-pound best fighter in the world and current welterweight champ- Kamaru Usman, like Burns, has. The few fights that Khamzat has had were explosive displays of dominance that left his opponents defeated in the first round by way of knock out with the exception of his last fight against Li Jingliang which ended in a first-round submission. Khazmet picked Li up, carried him over to where UFC President, Dana White was sitting, slammed him face-first on the ground, and then proceeded to choke up him while having a full-on conversation with Dana. He made the win look effortless and like absolute child’s play. 

The hype surrounding Khazmet, combined with his growing popularity, mic skills, and, effortless first-round wins has made him the favorite. I personally would like to see Burns get the win but my instincts tell me that Khazmet is going to walk through Burns, just like he is promising to do. Do I want that to happen? No, not really but I won’t be surprised or mad if and when it happens.

Our pick to win: Khamzat Chimaev

Mackenzie Dern (-120) vs. Tecia Torres (EVEN)

In a battle where both of these dangerous fighters have even odds, I favor Tecia Torres. Mackenzie Dern’s recent main event against Marina Rodriguez showed how limited her stand-up remains. It’s clear that Torres is in a different league than her on the feet. To be fair, it’s also clear that Dern is in a completely different league than Torres on the ground. Both of these fighters are rockstars in their own right, however, Dern is going to have to get through Tecia’s striking in order to get her to the ground. For me, Torres is the more exciting fighter. Not only that, her skills continue to improve and each fight brings out a new level of viciousness in her. I’ve never witnessed Dern being dragged into deep waters or bouncing back and winning from an intense round of fighting. She’s more technical, while Trecia is a balls-to-the-wall brawler, and for this reason, I think Tecia is going to run circles around her, force her to brawl, and in doing so, expose Dern’s limited stand-up.

Our pick to win: Tecia Torres

Vinc Pichel (-130) vs. Mark O. Madsen (+110)

This is a very interesting battle between two wrestling machines. Vinc “From Hell” Pichel has won three fights in a row and is 7-1 in his last eight UFC bouts, although that stretch runs all the way back to 2014 from being sidelined for three years due to injuries, As a result, he hasn’t been the more active fighter. This may or may not matter. Even at 39 years old, Pichel has excellent cardio and is a solid striker who mixes up kicks at range with punches in the pocket. However, Madsen’s wrestling is on another level, and he will look to use his lifetime’s experience to run through and maul Pichel. Despite both fighters approaching their 40s, they have a lot to offer the lightweight division. If Pichel can defend any takedowns and create room, he has the ability to inflict Madsen’s first loss.

Our pick to win: Vinc Pichel