Since becoming the 50th state in America to legalize mixed martial arts in 2016, the world of MMA has continuously added to New York’s rich history of legendary combat sports events – most notably at the famous Madison Square Garden.
Outside of “The Garden”, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has additionally bombarded multiple arenas and areas of New York with their promotion’s events – including the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Brooklyn fight fans have been excluded from the UFCs schedule since 2019. However, the company has now announced their plans for the upcoming pay-per-view event UFC 273, held at the Barclays Center on April 9.
Although a complete fight card hasn’t been announced, the UFC 273 PPV in N.Y. will host a double-header of championship title fights. Including a rumored featherweight championship bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Chan Sung Jung and an official bantamweight title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
New York has recently joined fellow states in the complete legalization of sports gambling on and offline. This law change will dramatically alter the wagering action at UFC 273, where the likes of Caesars New York will be offering some of the best value for money.
As for the matchups thus far, let’s preview the already-impressive line-up on show.
Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung
The 145lb champion Alexander Volkanovski was initially scheduled to meet Max Holloway in a trilogy. Unfortunately, an injury has forced the fan-favourite Holloway to withdraw, leaving the main event contest in tatters.
Despite receiving no official confirmation, the “Korean Zombie” will likely attempt his first title-winning fight at UFC gold since losing to Jose Aldo in 2013.
Upon the news of Holloway’s withdrawal, there was naturally a long list of fighters showing interest in taking the fight. Some of which included the retired two-division champions Henry Cejudo, Giga Chikadze, and the recently crowned lightweight king, Charles Oliveira.
Still, Cejudo isn’t an active roster member, Chikadze is already booked, and Oliveira is a weight class above. All of which leaves the perfect claim for Chan Sung Jung to receive such an opportunity.
“The Korean Zombie” is a top-ranked fighter, he hasn’t already fought Volkanovski, and he’s coming off a victory over Dan Ige, making him the front-runner to face Australia’s first-ever featherweight champ.
Last time out, Volkanovski overwhelmed Brian Ortega to retain his title, taking his professional record to an impressive 23 wins and zero losses. Jung would become the third UFC title defense for Volkanovski, and If the potential bout goes ahead, it’s likely to surrender the main event position in place of Sterling versus Yan.
Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan
Neck surgery had initially postponed the highly anticipated rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan. Still, N.Y. locals won’t be complaining, as the two will face off at the Barclays Center to decide who the true bantamweight king is.
The first bout between them controversially ended in a disqualification following an illegal knee from Yan. When Sterling was deemed unfit to continue, he was given the championship because of Yan’s mistake.
Fans and critics alike have since taunted Sterling for claiming to be a champion after receiving the title on a technicality. Before the stoppage, Yan was ahead of the scorecards in a lopsided affair, with many hinting that Sterling played on the situation.
Either way, the score will be settled once and for all, now that Sterling’s health is re-established.
Elsewhere On the Card
More fights for the UFC 273 event in N.Y. will be announced each week.
Most recently, former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate is officially dropping to the flyweight division.
Following Tate’s unsuccessful outing versus Ketlen Viera, the legendary mixed martial artist has agreed to compete against Lauren Murphy in her flyweight debut. In addition, Tate’s close friend Julianna Pena recently captured the bantamweight title, giving Tate an extra push to drop a weight class.
Women’s featherweight contenders Irene Aldana will step into the octagon versus Aspen Ladd. New Jersey native Mickey Gall won’t have a long journey as he’s scheduled to face UFC newcomer Mike Malott.
The only other bout scheduled for UFC 273 is a featherweight contest between Pat Sabatini and Gavin Tucker. Stay tuned for future UFC 273 announcements.