UFC 273: Volkanovski knocks out Korean Zombie to retain featherweight belt

Alexander Volkanovski defeated Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 early Sunday morning, earning a TKO seconds into the fourth round to retain the featherweight belt.

Volkanovski, 33 (24-1), extended his professional winning streak to 21, including an 11-0 mark in UFC competition.

Jung, better known as ‘the Korean zombie’, was battered, bloody and gasping for breath after the first three rounds. He insisted that he wanted to move on, but the referee stopped the fight 45 seconds into the fourth of the five-round championship.

“Too fucking good,” Volkanovski yelled inside the octagon after his latest win.

‘Alexander the Great’ delivered most of the punches in a fight that looked like it might be over much sooner than it actually was. Volkanovski’s last four fights went all the way. But he was considerably quicker than Jung, essentially setting up a mixed martial arts clinic.

“I’m on another level right now and I can’t be stopped,” Volkanovski said, adding that he hoped the referee would stop the fight earlier and that he felt bad for Jung in the final minutes.

“I felt like I hit a wall that I couldn’t get through,” said Jung, who was making his first title fight since 2013. He went 3,171 days between shots for the featherweight belt.

Jung, 35, took to the canvas after the fight was announced and later indicated through an interpreter that he might consider retiring.

The main event was the most lopsided on the main card of UFC 273.

Aljamain Sterling became the undisputed bantamweight champion by defending his belt against Petr Yan. They were involved in a controversial disqualification just over a year ago. Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee after dominating the fight.

Sterling (21-3) looked like a different fighter in this one, holding Yan to the mat for nearly eight minutes in the second and third rounds. Yan (16-3) battled through the last two rounds, doing enough to earn a split decision.

“I think I won this fight and they robbed me,” Yan said. “I want a rematch.”

Sterling had no plans for a trilogy fight with Yan, instead calling up former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw for his next fight.

The UFC’s third trip to Jacksonville in three years drew a packed house that included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, Los Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, minority owner of the Jaguars Tony Khan and legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attends Saturday during UFC 273 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. Photograph: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

They were invited to an epic event.

Not only did they get two title fights to close out the night, but they witnessed arguably the best fight of the year. Sweden’s Khamzat Chimaev took another step toward mixed martial arts stardom with a unanimous decision against 35-year-old Brazilian Gilbert Burns in the welterweight division.

Chimaev and Burns went toe-to-toe for three rounds, trading blows and raising their profiles. It was Chimaev’s most impressive outing to date and showed that he is a potential championship contender.

Chimaev (11-0) remained undefeated and answered nagging questions about how good he could be by defeating second-ranked Burns (20-5).

“I didn’t know it was so tough,” Chimaev said.

Chimaev had not gone to a third round in any of his previous professional fights. He was gassed and stabbed in the final round of this, his first against a ranked opponent.

“This is what I was waiting for,” Chimaev said, with a sizable cut under his left eye. “I’m sore, bleeding and tired.”

Other fights on the main card:

Mackenzie Dern (12-2) used a split decision against Tecia Torres to win for the fifth time in her last six fights. With her husband and her young daughter sitting cage-side, Dern dominated the second round thanks to a variety of Brazilian jiu-jitsu moves. But Torres, 32 (13-6), escaped two submissions and was impressive for the final five minutes to nearly take down the fifth-ranked woman in the strawweight division.

Three-time Olympian Mark Madsen (12-0) remained undefeated with a unanimous decision over Vinc Pichel (14-3), 39, in the lightweight division. Madsen won a silver medal for Denmark at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.


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