If there was any disappointment in having to face a late substitute as an opponent on Saturday, Alexander Volkanovski never showed it. Instead, the reigning featherweight champion used UFC 273 as a canvas to paint his career masterpiece.
Volkanovski (24-1) appeared as sharp and powerful as ever as he exploited his large speed advantage to smash Chan Sung Jung (17-7) at will until a stoppage by referee Herb Dean at 45 seconds of Round 4 brings their title fight. inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida to a merciful end.
Jung, the beloved South Korean brawler nicknamed “The Korean Zombie”, replaced Max Holloway in January after the former champion pulled out of his trilogy fight against Volkanovski due to injury. Although Jung set a record for the longest time between title fights after unsuccessfully trying in 2013 to knock down Jose Aldo, he was simply never in the fight against Volkanovski.
In fact, Jung’s face left a grotesque mixture of blood, scratches, and bruises he acquired along the way.
“I told you all before this fight that I’m on another level now and can’t be stopped,” Volkanovski said. “I showed you everything. He actually took more hits than I wanted, but that’s only part of the game.
“I just have the drive to be better. Always be better. You can be better everywhere. Have that drive and drive and just look for ways to improve. Hard work, drive and opportunity has brought me where I am and look what I am doing.”
Volkanovski, a 33-year-old Australian, made the third defense of the title he won against Holloway in 2019. He beautifully mixed calf strikes with punch combinations and regularly buzzed or dropped Jung with almost every big push of power.
Jung, 35, wondered after the fight if he would consider retiring.
“I was the most confident of my entire career,” Jung said. “I wasn’t tired and I was ready to go but I felt like I was hitting a wall that I couldn’t get through.
“After every loss I always think about leaving the Octagon and that MMA match, but I will need more time to think about it and see if I will keep fighting. I will have to think about it.”
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The fight could have easily been stopped after the third round after Jung was dropped late with a right cross and nearly succumbed to an aggressive ground-and-pound stretch from Volkanovski. Although the cage doctor who examined him before the start of Round 4 allowed Jung to keep fighting, it only took a few more combinations for Dean to intervene. Although Volkanovski acknowledged afterward that a trilogy against Holloway might still be in the cards, he sent a message to the rest of the division.
“Obviously there was a fight that needed to be scheduled for this one. Let’s see what the UFC says,” Volkanovski said. “But hey, everyone in my division, I’ve been saying this for a while now. Put your bullshit together, earn that No. 1 spot and you’ll get it. Otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity. It’s that simple .”
Elsewhere, Aljamain Sterling silenced his critics with a split decision victory over Petr Yan to unify the bantamweight title. Sterling relied on his heavy grappling game to win the early rounds before Yan rallied late.
And Khamzat Chimaev got all he could handle from Gilbert Burns in a welterweight contest. The rising star faced adversity for the first time as Burns fought back in fierce rallies. Chimaev still got the green light on all three scorecards.
CBS Sports was with you the whole way Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from UFC 273 below.
UFC 273 card and results
- Alexander Volkanovski (c) beats. Chan Sung Jung via fourth-round TKO (punches)
- Aljamain Sterling (c) beats. Petr Yan via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
- Khamzat Chimaev defeated. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mackenzie Dern defeated. Tecia Torres via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Mark Madsen beats. Vinc Pichel via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Ian Garry beats. Darian Weeks via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Anthony Hernandez defeats. Josh Fremd by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Raquel Pennington beats. Aspen Ladd via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mike Malott beats. Mickey Gall via first-round TKO (punches)
- Aleksei Oleinik defeated. Jared Vanderaa via first-round submission (crank)
- Piera Rodriguez defeats. Kay Hansen via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julio Arce beats. Daniel Santos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)