UFC 273 took place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida this past Saturday. Fans were treated to two title bouts and a match-up with huge title implications in the 170 pound division. The main card didn’t disappoint, as four of the fights were back and forth contests, one of which is immediately in the discussion for Fight of the Year while the main event was a one-sided win for the defending champion.
Here are our thoughts as to what’s on tap for the night’s losers.
The Korean Zombie
The main event of the evening at UFC 273 saw The Korean Zombie step in against the champion Alexander Volkanovski after former champ Max Holloway went down with an injury. It didn’t take Alexander “The Great” long to make The Zombie start to resemble a zombie. He was landing hard and quick jabs right from the start. After the third round, referee Herb Dean asked the doctors to check on Zombie; they allowed him to continue. It didn’t last much longer, as Volkanovski would earn the stoppage 45 seconds into round four, leading us to ask “what’s next?” for TKZ.
In his post fight interview Zombie seemed very emotional, discussing how he’d need to think about hanging up the gloves and spending time with his children. Missing a good chunk of his prime fighting years due to military obligations to his native country, I can’t see him retiring just yet. He’s got some gas left in the tank and there are some youngsters looking for a fight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zombies next fight being a nasty one. One with a fellow twister finisher, “Thug Nasty” himself.
Zombie’s next fight: Bryce Mitchell
In a much anticipated rematch of their title fight at UFC 259 that resulted in a DQ finish and a new champion, Interim Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan took on UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling in Jacksonvile. The first round wasn’t full of action and could have been very hard to judge in the favor of either fighter. Rounds two and three very easily went to Sterling and rounds four and five were easily scored for Yan. After going to the judges’ scorecards, we heard “and still,” as Yan fell via split decision to the “Funkmaster.”
Yan could be matched up with a plethora of opponents at the top of the division and any of those fights would make sense for a variety of reasons. There are rematches for top guys looking to avenge losses against the former champion. There are new talents tearing through the division looking to make a name for themselves off the former champion. Let’s not forget there is also a legend that has returned from multiple injuries that has his eyes on getting his title back. He could also get a rematch against Sterling but I think there is another former champ that gets that call first. As for Yan, a very marketable fight is out there against Sterling’s own teammate, Merab Dvalishvili. This one sells itself.
Yan’s next fight: Merab Dvalishvili
At UFC 273, “Durinho” did what we’ve heard a lot of men had absolutely no interest in doing, he got locked inside the Octagon across from Khamzat Chimaev. In doing so he did what no other man has been able to do: he made Chimaev look mortal. Burns rocked Chimaev. He hurt Chimaev. He cut Chimaev. After the seventh minute of the fight, he had officially taken Chimaev into the deepest waters of a fight he’d been to in his career. It wouldn’t be enough, as Burns would drop a unanimous decision to the man many say will be the next champion at 185 pounds. It was written on the faces of both men after the fight. This one was an instant classic, a contender for Fight of the Year in 2022, and could end up in the Fight Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame.
Burns, like many others, has been on the losing side of things before. He’s been in there with the current champion and former championship contenders. He came into this one ranked #2 in the division and I’d have a hard time seeing him dropped any further than #4. The three guys ranked immediately below him have fights lined up and it seems Chimaev has called next for the winner of Usman vs. Edwards 2. If that actually happens (and it may or may not) only one man really makes sense as the next person for Burns to fight, maybe even in Brazil or…..Miami? Covington. Of course, Dana White also suggested “Chaos” for Chimaev next, so it all comes down to whether he gets the winner of Usman-Edwards 2. If he doesn’t, maybe the Luque vs. Muhammad winner works.
Burns’ next fight: Colby Covington (dependent on title picture)
Torres has been locked inside the cage with a who’s who of the top women in the game. Saturday night was no different as she faced off against arguably the best female grappler in the UFC, Mackenzie Dern. This fight between Dern and “The Tiny Tornado” was definitely a whirlwind of back and forth stand-up and grappling. After we went to the judges, it was a split decision win for Dern.
Torres, a top 10 strawweight, has been on this side of a decision in the past. She had a four fight losing streak all decided on the scorecards, before her most recent three fight winning streak. The list of names Torres has fought in her career is endless, however there is some new blood in her division, so we’ll line her up with one of them. A former Invicta champ in this case.
Torres’ next fight: Virna Jandiroba
“From Hell” Vinc Pichel most definitely didn’t go down without a fight against Olympic silver medalist Mark O. Madsen. This one was a very back-and-forth three round scrap, where Pichel could be overheard telling his corner “he’s done… he’s done” in regards to Madsen after the second round. He wasn’t. It turned out to be the wrestling of “The Olympian” Madsen that would seal the deal in the third round.
Pichel has been in and out of the Octagon on a regular basis during his career due to injury. Seemingly coming out of this one injury free, he’s probably be hell bent on getting a quick turn around. While his wrestling did look good (he was the first person to ever secure a takedown against Madsen in his MMA career), Pichel seems much better matched up against someone who will stand with him.
Pichel’s next fight: Jai Herbert