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Updated UFC 273 Odds, Predictions, Picks: Model Projections & Betting Analysis for All 12 Fights, Including Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie

Updated UFC 273 Odds, Predictions, Picks: Model Projections & Betting Analysis for All 12 Fights, Including Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie article feature image
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Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC Championship belt.

The UFC returns to Jacksonville, Florida, with a 12-fight card for UFC 273, highlighted by a pair of title fights in the men’s Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions.

The early prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ before moving to ESPN at 8 p.m. ET. The five-fight PPV main card will commence at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

After examining all betting options, a typical UFC card can offer a substantial amount of actionable value. So, in addition to moneylines and over/unders, I’ll break down how I plan to bet every fight card, including exact winning methods, winning round props, and whether or not the match will go to a decision or finish inside the distance.

Fight times are approximate and subject to change. All times ET.

Click on a fight to skip ahead
12. Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos
6:30 p.m. ET
11. Piera Rodriguez vs. Kay Hansen
7 p.m. ET
10. Jared Vanderaa vs. Aleksei Oleinik
7:30 p.m. ET
9. Mike Malott vs. Mickey Gall
8 p.m. ET
8. Raquel Pennington vs. Aspen Ladd
8:30 p.m. ET
7. Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Fremd
9 p.m. ET
6. Ian Garry vs. Darian Weeks
9:30 p.m. ET
5. Vinc Pichel vs. Mark Madsen
10 p.m. ET
4. Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres
10:30 p.m. ET
3. Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev
11 p.m. ET
2. Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan
11:45 p.m. ET
1. Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung
12:20 a.m. ET

UFC 273 Projected Odds

Odds as of Friday morning and via BetMGM.

Below, you can find my fair odds moneyline projection for Saturday’s 12 bouts. In the next section, you’ll discover forecasts for those fights to finish inside the distance or for each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission.

UFC 273 Prop Projections

In addition to creating a crowdsourced projection for moneyline plays, I also collect data on each fighter to win by decision, knockout, or submission, enabling us to determine fair odds for each fight to go the distance or for each fighter to win inside of the distance.

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UFC 273 Odds

Early Preliminary Card

  • 6 p.m. ET
  • ESPN+

Julio Arce vs. Daniel Santos

Bantamweight Bout Odds
Julio Arce Odds -190
Daniel Santos Odds +155
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-165 / +140)

Crowdsourced Projections: Julio Arce (64.2%)

Saturday’s opener could be one of the most action-packed fights on the card.

Santos is making his UFC debut after a long layoff (last fought in December 2019), but might have made drastic improvements in his mid-twenties, training alongside the Lightweight champion Charles Oliveira at Chute Box in Brazil.

“Willycat” is exceptionally aggressive and flashy, deploying a wide array of spinning attacks in his offensive arsenal. However, he shows deficiencies on defense, and an established fighter like Julio Arce can take advantage.

Arce — a former golden gloves champion and currently a second-degree black belt — is a well-rounded and experienced octagon veteran (seven UFC fights). He’s still 32-years-old, and the reaction to his first-career knockout loss to the fast-rising Song Yadong might be overblown.

Arce is appropriately favored here, but given Santos’ high-variance style, finishing ability, and possible improvements since we last saw him, it’s challenging to make the pre-fight line any wider.

Moreover, Arce missed weight on Friday and looked worse for wear on the scales.

Given the expected pace, I would lean to the Under 2.5 rounds at plus money; however, I don’t project betting value on any side, total, or prop for this matchup.

Sit back and enjoy the violence.

Bets

  • Pass

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Piera Rodriguez vs. Kay Hansen

Women’s Strawweight Bout Odds
Piera Rodriguez Odds -120
Kay Hansen Odds +100
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-225 / +185)

Crowdsourced Projections: Piera Rodriguez (48.3%)

Including Arce, Hansen was the second fighter to miss weight on Friday. I project her as a slight favorite and was looking to bet her at plus money before the miss, but I was admittedly spooked since she admitted to having difficulty with the cut.

Historically, fighters who miss weight carry a 46% win rate at average odds of +101, meaning they win 3-4% less often than the betting odds suggest, on average. That feels like an appropriate adjustment for something that is generally unquantifiable, and would seemingly vary from one fighter to the next.

Rodriguez is the superior striker in this matchup, while Hansen possesses all of the grappling upside. On principle, I’ll typically side with grappling upside at plus money; levels tend to be wider on the mat than they are on the feet.

Let's take a look at Kay Hansen's armbar victory over Jinh Yu Frey.
One of the issues with taking a purely defensive approach to grappling is that it allows savvier grapplers more time to work around your defenses, and here is a good example of that. pic.twitter.com/1SSoBbDnIJ

— Ben Kohn (@agentbenten) April 3, 2022

I successfully faded Hansen in her last fight when she moved up to 125 to face Jasmine Jasudavicius, but Jasmine (5-foot-7) was too big for Kay to grapple; she’ll have much more success at size parity against a natural strawweight in Rodriguez (5-foot-3).

And while this seems like an excellent price to bet her in a bounce-back spot, I’m concerned about the weight cut; and the sluggish energy she has exhibited at strawweight in the past.

I initially considered a play on Hansen at plus money, but I also show value on her decision prop (projected +196, listed +250) and on the fight to go the distance (listed -207, projected -190).

However, at +110 or better, that weight miss adjustment I mentioned earlier has essentially factored into the odds — and that’s where I’d set the price target.

Bets

  • Kay Hansen (+115, 0.5 units) at Caesars

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Jared Vanderaa vs. Aleksei Oleinik

Heavyweight Bout Odds
Jared Vanderaa Odds -115
Aleksei Oleinik Odds -105
Over/under rounds 1.5 (-105 / -115)

Crowdsourced Projections: Jared Vanderaa (53.3%)

This feels like a binary Heavyweight matchup; either Oleinik gets the fight to the mat and slaps a choke on Vanderaa, or he can’t take down the larger man and eventually gets knocked out.

On paper, Vanderaa is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but he has looked like a fish on his back against several opponents. He’s only a threat when he’s on top of you, mostly because he’s an immovable mountain of a man.

Oleinik might even be the superior technical striker. Still, Vanderaa has significant advantages in cardio, durability, and size, and the longer this fight extends, the better his chances of winning.

Historically, Oleinik’s takedown numbers are promising (46% accuracy, 2.16 landed per 15 minutes) — and he’s been able to pull down and threaten more prominent men like Derrick Lewis, even at his advanced age.

If you’re targeting Oleinik, I would dabble with his Round 1 prop (+300 at MGM), but I don’t project betting value on any pre-fight side, total, or prop for this matchup.

However, I’ll look to bet Vanderaa live after Round 1, when he should start to pull away with cardio and pace.

Bets

  • Jared Vanderaa Live after Round 1


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Preliminary Card

  • 8 p.m. ET
  • ESPN

Mike Malott vs. Mickey Gall

Welterweight Bout Odds
Mike Malott Odds -200
Mickey Gall Odds +165
Over/under rounds 1.5 (-140 / +115)

Crowdsourced Projections: Mike Malott (53%)

Malott fits a pair of criteria for the type of fighters I generally fade, on principle, at the UFC level as (1) a debutant from contender series, with (2) several quick finishes on his recent record.

Mallot has totaled less than three minutes of cage time across his past three fights over five years.

The one time he was extended (at Bellator 142 in 2015), Malott scored a 10-8 first round, faded, and dropped the remaining two frames — ending in a majority draw.

Moreover, Mallot is a former Featherweight who has come up to 170, and I suspect that Gall will be the bigger man in the cage.

People still view Gall as the warm body brought in to potentially lose to CM Punk (closed as a -430 favorite) back in 2016. Still, Gall has made significant improvements to his overall game while managing a 5-4 record in the promotion.

He recently moved his fight camp down to Sanford MMA — one of the top gyms in the sport — and as the younger man in the fight, I anticipate that he’s likely to have made more improvements since we saw either fighter last.

Malott’s current skillset remains a mystery, but I expect him to fade if he doesn’t get another quick finish. Still, Gall has never had great stamina, so it’s not like he can weaponize his cardio in this fight.

But Gall can take a punch, and I anticipate that the grappling will be competitive, at a minimum. Gall might even be the superior grappler once we see it play out, which would make him a hindsight favorite.

Additionally, Gall has improved his striking to the point where he can hang around with unranked competition, but he needs to ramp up his aggression to create more opportunities for variance, mainly when he’s the underdog.

Given the question marks on the Malott side beyond the first few minutes, and Gall’s general toughness, this fight projects closer to a coin flip than the odds suggest; and I set Gall’s moneyline at +113.

I bet Gall around +170 earlier this week — the line has since moved slightly in our favor — but would continue to play that number down to +127 (44% implied), at a three percentage point edge compared to my projection.

Bets

  • Mickey Gall (+170, 1u) at BetMGM

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Raquel Pennington vs. Aspen Ladd

Women’s Bantamweight Bout Odds
Raquel Pennington Odds -190
Aspen Ladd Odds +155
Over/under rounds 2.5 (-350 / +260)

Crowdsourced Projections: Raquel Pennington (59.2%)

I have significant concerns about betting on either fighter in this matchup.

Pennington is the superior striker, but she has been taken down at least once in each of her past three fights (all wins), and before that, she spent half a fight (7:15) pushed against the cage by Holly Holm.

Ladd is a big problem for her opponents once she gains top position. She offers a ton of pressure and ferocious ground and pound.

But her most recent outing in a Main Event against Norma Dumont was beyond concerning. Ladd refused to engage for the first three rounds and then looked like a clear favorite once she woke up.

I’m not sure that Ladd can keep Pennington down for extended periods. Even if she does win a decision, I expect a close/split type situation, where judges weigh Ladd’s takedowns against Pennington’s striking in different ways.

Ladd’s moneyline (projected +145, listed +155) is intriguing, in addition to her knockout prop (projected +717, listed +800) and inside the distance number (projected +513, listed +600).

I’ll allocate my bet between the moneyline and the finish prop, but it’s not a particularly confident underdog play.

Bets

  • Aspen Ladd (+160, 0.4u) at Caesars
  • Aspen Ladd wins Inside the Distance (+600, 0.1u) at FanDuel

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Anthony Hernandez vs. Josh Fremd

Middleweight Bout Odds
Anthony Hernandez Odds -190
Josh Fremd Odds +155
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+240 / -300)

Crowdsourced Projections: Anthony Hernandez (60.9%)

“Fluffy” Hernandez is not the type of fighter you bet at favorite money, even against a debutant in Fremd, who I’m not particularly high on.

Surprisingly, this fight is the likeliest bout to end inside the distance on Saturday, but I don’t necessarily agree with those odds, setting that prop at -233 in my projection.

This could be a highly volatile fight, and neither man is exceptionally durable. Still, I don’t see either fighter as a particularly lethal finishing threat, either on the feet or on the mat.

Fremd has several finishes on his record, but usually the fighters who get similar “finishing respect” in the line are undefeated prospects with a 100% finish rate, and that’s not the case here.

And while Fremd is the bigger man — and likely the bigger hitter — I view Hernandez as the more durable fighter. He scored a recent upset over Rodolfo Vieira by surviving and outlasting his competition.

remember when Fluffy Hernandez pulled off one of the greatest submission upsets ever last year?

Hernandez sub was +3000 (30-1)🤯pic.twitter.com/WdE96BU1YV

— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) April 6, 2022

UFC middleweight bouts end inside the distance 58.5% of the time. My projection for this fight is around 70%, but the betting market is closer to 80%, which is too wide.

I will split my bet between the Over 1.5 Rounds (+125 at MGM) and the distance prop (+370 at FanDuel) and hope to cash both tickets.

Moreover, you can find value in either fighter to win by decision depending on the book, but I’d be splitting hairs to choose a winner.

Bets

  • Over 1.5 Rounds (+125, 0.3u) at BetMGM
  • Fight goes to Decision (+370, 0.2u) at FanDuel

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Ian Garry vs. Darian Weeks

Welterweight Bout Odds
Ian Garry Odds -375
Darian Weeks Odds +290
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+125 / -150)

Crowdsourced Projections: Ian Garry (76.7%)

The UFC is doing their best to push Garry — an undefeated 24-year-old Irishman — but “The Future” is still a ways away from ranked competition, in my opinion.

That said, he’s only been fighting since 2015 (2019 professionally) and should start making substantial improvements while entering his physical prime with a new camp at Sanford MMA.

Garry closed as high as -450 for his debut against Jordan Williams at UFC 268 in New York but lost every minute of the fight until he landed a big step-back counter after Williams over-extended.

Just 23 years old and making his UFC debut at MSG, what a knockout from Ian Garry, smoked Jordan Williams into tomorrow. 🇮🇪 #UFC268 pic.twitter.com/223Nn30xTL

— Ryan (@Nosbig__) November 6, 2021

Weeks probably represents a step down in competition for Garry relative to that matchup.

He offers a ton of experience (18 amateur and six professional fights) and held his own in a short notice debut against Bryan Barberena last December.

Weeks is both more durable and offers better cardio compared to Williams. We may see Garry gain some valuable cage time in this fight, but I think the -400 price tag is more justifiable.

While Williams offered Garry some problems on the feet, Garry should have Weeks covered everywhere else.

According to my projection, you can get a fair price on Garry to win inside the distance (projected +101, listed -105 at DraftKings). Still, I suspect that Weeks may present a tougher out than Garry’s recent opponents, despite the potential skill gap.

There will be a time when I fade Garry, but this is not the spot for it.

Bets

  • Pass

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Main Card

  • 10 p.m. ET
  • ESPN PPV

Vinc Pichel vs. Mark Madsen

Lightweight Bout Odds
Vinc Pichel Odds -125
Mark Madsen Odds +105
Over/under rounds 1.5 (-185 / +150)

Crowdsourced Projections: Vinc Pichel (58.2%)

I suspect that Madsen — an undefeated Olympic Silver Medalist — is due to lose his 0 soon, and I’m happy to take a shot on the always-underrated Pichel as a slight favorite.

I projected Pichel’s moneyline closer to -140, but I suspect he may have to rally to victory, and I prefer Pichel’s live moneyline after Round 1 as the best way to play this fight.

Unsurprisingly, Madsen is excellent at taking his opponents down (66% takedown accuracy, 4.33 landed per 15 minutes), and Pichel offers little resistance on the defensive end (25% takedown defense).

However, Pichel rarely stays on his back for long — he’s very adept at returning to his feet in short order, where you’ll have to take him down again and again.

Madsen can undoubtedly pursue that game plan early, but he doesn’t have the cardio to pull it off for 15 minutes.

While he’s excellent at getting opponents to the mat, Madsen’s top control is lacking since he’s a Greco-roman wrestler, as opposed to a freestyle fighter. And he puts every ounce of muscle into each of his techniques.

Madsen tends to fade badly in the third round of his fights, particularly when he tries to grapple early. But even in his most recent bout with Clay Guida where he shot just one takedown, Madsen slowed down the stretch.

At range, I expect Pichel to destroy Madsen’s lead leg with kicks — Madsen didn’t check one of Guida’s 16 leg strikes — and he’s far likelier to put together combinations and pull away on volume. Madsen tends to throw one strike at a time while telegraphing his attacks occasionally.

Don't sleep on Vinc Pichel pic.twitter.com/1n60F8QZv3

— Ocelot MMA (@Ocelot_MMA) April 7, 2022

I don’t give Madsen a ton of finishing upside in this fight and generally feel that he needs to win the first seven and a half minutes to secure the scorecards, given his propensity for fading in Round 3.

Pichel’s Round 3 prop (+1400) would be worth a poke at +2000 or better. Still, I’m just taking a small pre-fight wager on Pichel’s moneyline to lay a more significant bet (and likely at far superior odds) live after Round 1.

And while I project this fight to go the distance more often than the odds suggest (projected -179, listed -165), I want no part of sweating Madsen to survive Round 3.

Bets

  • Vinc Pichel (-120, 0.5u) at FanDuel
  • Vinc Pichel Live after Round 1

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Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres

Women’s Strawweight Bout Odds
Mackenzie Dern Odds -120
Tecia Torres Odds +100
Over/under rounds 2.5 (+125 / -150)

Crowdsourced Projections: Mackenzie Dern (51.1%)

I have generally bet against Dern throughout her UFC run — and have largely lost money in the process. (I’m still confident that Virna Jandiroba would have secured the decision if she held position for the final minute of their fight instead of letting Dern back up.)

I’m surprised to find Dern as a favorite in this matchup since Torres possesses the vast majority of minute-winning ability. More surprising, however, is the discrepancy between Dern’s submission line (+250) at BetMGM and her moneyline.

I project a submission victory as 65% of Dern’s win condition (with an additional 5% for positional TKO), but the current odds are that it’s closer to 50-55% of her win condition.

Unless she manages to take Torres down and hold her there, I don’t see how Dern wins minutes without Torres getting submitted.

And I’m reasonably confident that if Dern does get this fight to the mat, there will be levels in the grappling, and she will eventually secure the tap.

Torres has mostly faced strikers instead of grapplers, and Dern’s grappling is levels above the other top grapplers at Strawweight. Pound-for-pound, she’s one of the most dangerous submission grapplers in the world.

One takedown could be the end of the fight; even if Dern is losing 14:59 of this 15-minute bout, she only needs a moment to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. Dern nearly secured a fourth-round finish despite losing the vast majority of her fight with Marina Rodriguez.

She’s not dissimilar from fighters like Paul Craig or Brian Ortega, who are generally losing until the moment they slap on a submission.

However, she struggles to get her fights to the mat (0.54 takedowns per 15 minutes, 10% accuracy), so she needs to pull guard, catch kicks, or capitalize on scrambles to create opportunities.

One thing going for her here is the size advantage (3-inch height and reach advantage), which she can use to gain leverage over her smaller opponent. That’s something she couldn’t do while ceding 3 inches in both categories to Rodriguez.

In a vacuum, I would pick Torres to win this fight by the decision; because I generally favor minute-winners, but there’s no value in her moneyline or her decision line.

The discrepancy between Derns’s submission line (projected +201, listed +250) and her inside the distance prop (projected +180, listed +200) relative to her moneyline is stark enough to bet.

Bets

  • Mackenzie Dern wins Inside the Distance (+200, 0.25u) at BetMGM

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Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Welterweight Bout Odds
Gilbert Burns Odds +360
Khamzat Chimaev Odds -500
Over/under rounds 1.5 (-130 / +105)

Crowdsourced Projections: Gilbert Burns (79.6%)

Khamzat Chimaev, the most interesting man in MMA, returns to the octagon on Saturday. “Borz” has dispatched four UFC opponents in just under 12 combined minutes of fight time, ascending divisional rankings as quickly as any MMA prospect in recent memory.

While it’s within the realm of possibilities that Khamzat turns out to be the MMA goat, one-punches his way through Burns, finishes Colby Covington, and demolishes both Kamaru Usman and then Israel Adesanya, it’s MUCH MUCH likelier that he entered the UFC much closer to a finished product than anyone has before.

If Burns, Covington, or Usman faced John Phillips or Rhys McKee midway through 2020, wouldn’t they have performed relatively similar performances as Khamzat? Possibly, those are regional-level fighters.

However, the Gerald Meerschaert knockout and Li Jiangliang submission stand out. Chimaev walked through a pair of established UFC veterans and looked -1000 in hindsight.

All three would have won those matchups with relative ease, but frankly, I don’t think any of the top three Welterweights would have looked quite THAT dominant.

There are still so many question marks surrounding Khamzat. How does he react when he takes a big punch? How does his cardio hold up after seven minutes, 10 minutes, or 12? How will he react when (if?) he finally faces some adversity? How good is his striking when he gets stuck or decides to stay at range for an extended period?

And Burns possesses enough finishing upside, in general, to present a severe test. Burns is a former Lightweight and will be at a size disadvantage against Khamzat who looks like a natural Middleweight.

Still, Burns can crack on the feet — he nearly finished Usman in the first round of their bout — and, like Dern, he’s one of the best submission grapplers in the world, pound-for-pound.

That said, Burns is a bit of a glass cannon — he’s chinny. Usman put him down with some clean jabs and he doesn’t have great cardio. Burns tends to fall off a cliff in the third round — he was hanging on for dear life in his recent win over “Wonderboy” and looked very skittish in all extended exchanges.

While it’s entirely possible that, in an extended fight, Khamzat may fade down the stretch, Burns will be right there with him, wilting away. And I have difficulty seeing both men surviving 15-minutes, given the intense and nearly unprecedented pace that Khamzat pushes from the opening bell.

I projected the fight to end inside the distance 76% of the time, implied odds of -315, and I laid the juice on that prop (-244 at PointsBet). I would play that number up to -250.

Bets

  • Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-244, 0.5u) at PointsBet


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Aljamain Sterling vs. Petr Yan

Bantamweight Bout Odds
Aljamain Sterling Odds +360
Petr Yan Odds -500
Over/under rounds 4.5 (-140 / +115)

Crowdsourced Projections: Petr Yan (82%)

For additional information, including a full statistical breakdown of Saturday’s Bantamweight title bout, make sure to check out my full fight preview.

Yan is a highly patient fighter who uses the first and second rounds to gather information on his opponents before upping his tempo once he reads his opponent.

As a result, I typically look to live bet Yan after Round 1 or Round 2, when the moneyline tightens. Yan was plus money against Cory Sandhagen in the early stages after closing near -300.

While giving away a round is not ideal, it’s not so bad in a 25-minute fight when that information and stamina advantage increases your probability of winning each subsequent round.

And while Yan may get off to a better start against a familiar opponent, I’m sure that he’ll wait back and see what adjustments Sterling has made first before going on the attack.

So while the first fight may have looked competitive on the feet, I still suspect that Yan wins the final three rounds on power at increasingly more comprehensive percentages, especially if Sterling pushes a fast pace from the jump.

Failed wrestling (1-for-17 on takedown attempts) cost Sterling a ton of energy and momentum in the first fight. In contrast, Yan’s offensive trips (7-for-7 on takedowns) and defensive abilities stood out as the most surprising factor in the matchup.

It’s a bit of a catch-22 for Sterling in the rematch. He has to mix in grappling to stay competitive, otherwise, Yan will tee off on him in the striking exchanges. But failed takedown attempts will cause him to tire out again and lead to him losing minutes or getting finished in the late stages.

There’s a possibility that Sterling can find his way to a backpack position — as he did against Sandhagen — and take Yan’s neck.

However, his best path to victory may be using his speed to avoid Yan at all costs. Touch him up a little bit, and then run around the cage. Sterling tried to force the issue and overwhelm Yan with volume in the first fight, but I think he can still win on volume with a lower-paced and more conservative game plan.

Moreover, Sterling looked (and said he felt) less than 100% in the first fight. Maybe it was an adrenaline dump, but he was slipping on the canvas and moving awkwardly — but not intentionally so. He also had a significant (and career-threatening) neck surgery in the interim, which is beyond concerning.

It’s challenging to look like the best version of yourself against the ‘Funk Master’ because he fights so unconventionally and makes you think about many different things.

And I suspect that he can make this rematch with Yan look competitive early with his unorthodox style — but I’m not sure how he wins unless he can mix in some grappling success alongside the striking output.

After betting Aljo in the first fight around even money, I project Yan as an 82% favorite (-456 implied) for the rematch, based upon regression of public prediction and betting data.

As a result, I don’t see value on either fighter’s moneyline or their winning method props, though I suppose Yan technically qualifies as a parlay piece closer to -400.

I typically look to bet all Yan’s fights the same way: Pre-fight wagers on his Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5 props while looking for a live wager after Round 1 and/or Round 2.

And this matchup may support a similar strategy — particularly concerning the live market.

However, while there was a significant adjustment in moneyline odds since the first bout, the odds to end inside the distance have also moved from -150 nearer to even money.

projected this bout to end inside the distance 58% of the time (-139 implied odds) and would bet that prop up to -115.

Bets

  • Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+100, 0.5u) at Bet365
  • Live Bet Petr Yan after Round 1 and/or Round 2

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Alexander Volkanovski vs. Chan Sung Jung

Featherweight Bout Odds
Alexander Volkanovski Odds -800
Chan Sung Jung Odds +550
Over/under rounds 4.5 (-155 / +130)

Crowdsourced Projections: Alexander Volkanovski (83.6%)

For additional information, including a full statistical breakdown of Saturday’s Featherweight title bout, make sure to check out my full fight preview.

The champion should win and control most minutes in this fight, mainly if this turns into a kickboxing match. Volk is the far more efficient striker (+3.08 to +0.20 strike differential per minute), wastes much less energy (+13% accuracy), and avoids getting hit (+5% striking defense) as compared to his opponent.

The Aussie will land a high number of leg kicks (landed 48 of 57 against Brian Ortega; 67 of 101 in his second fight with Holloway) and look to slow Jung’s movement in the early stages of the fight before closing the distance and controlling the boxing exchanges with hand fighting.

Volkanovski also has some wrestling upside in this fight (1.77 per 15 minutes, 34% accuracy) if he wants to level change and mix up-tempos or techniques. However, Jung is the superior submission grappler if this fight hits the mat. Volkanovski’s jiu-jitsu is the most significant mark against his status as the pound-for-pound king.

While Volk showed exemplary heart/toughness and managed to find space to escape from Ortega’s submission attempts, he was in some terrible spots and put himself right back into those positions immediately – instead of standing up and taking the path of least resistance.

His deep submission escapes had more to do with determination/strength than flawless technique – and Zombie is just as a threat to pull an upset on the mat as Ortega was.

On the feet, Jung carries as much or more power than any fighter that Volkanovski has faced in the UFC. And while Volkanovski has never been stopped, he seems to get hurt or wobbled in each of his bouts; but he tends to recover very quickly.

On pure finishing ability, Jung has a chance to pull the massive upset. However, since he doesn’t check leg kicks, his lead leg will eventually get lit up, his movement will slow, and his power will diminish.

Jung’s best path to victory likely comes in the early stages via finish. Otherwise, he should start to wilt down the stretch when Volkanovski typically steps on the gas.

My projection made Jung a 16% underdog (+509 implied odds) for his second title shot, but I wouldn’t touch his moneyline below +600 (14.3% implied).

Moreover, I projected a finish as 85% of his win condition (60% by KO), and I show value on Jung to win either by knockout (projected +915) or inside the distance (projected +620), which you can find as high as +1100 and +700, respectively.

While I might take a slight poke at those props, I prefer to bet the fight will end inside the distance (projected +111, listed +125 at WynnBet) or the Under 4.5 rounds (listed +130 at BetMGM) at a similar price point.

Jung is not as durable as his nickname might suggest, and Volkanovski’s decision prop is overvalued based on a recent run of decision wins (seven of his past ten fights).

He maintains an extremely high pace and creates enough attritional damage to break the vast majority of Featherweights.

If Jung doesn’t get Volkanovski out of there early, I suspect the champion will chop his lead leg down and eventually put him away.

Bets

  • Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet

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Zerillo’s UFC 273 Bets

Distance or Decision Props and Overs

  • Fremd/Hernandez, Over 1.5 Rounds (+125, 0.3 units) at BetMGM
  • Fremd/Hernandez, Fight goes to Decision (+370, 0.2u) at FanDuel

Inside the Distance Props and Unders

  • Aspen Ladd wins Inside the Distance (+600, 0.1u) at FanDuel
  • Mackenzie Dern wins Inside the Distance (+200, 0.25u) at BetMGM
  • Chimaev/Burns, Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-244, 0.5u) at PointsBet
  • Yan/Sterling, Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+100, 0.5u) at Bet365
  • Jung/Volkanovski, Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+125, 0.5u) at WynnBet

Moneylines

  • Kay Hansen (+115, 0.5u) at Caesars
  • Mickey Gall (+170, 1u) at BetMGM
  • Aspen Ladd (+160, 0.4u) at Caesars
  • Vinc Pichel (-120, 0.5u) at FanDuel

Live Betting Notes

  • Jared Vanderaa Live after Round 1
  • Vinc Pichel Live after Round 1
  • Petr Yan Live after Round 1 and/or Round 2

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