BCDC Analyst Grant Emrick Breaks Down UFC273

UFC 273: Volkanovski vs. The Korean Zombie

April 9, 2022

Emrick’s UFC Fighter Pick Record (47-26)

Early Prelim Predictions:

BW: Julio Arce (17-5) vs. Daniel Santos (10-1)

  • Pick: Julio Arce

WSTRAW: Piera Rodriguez (7-0) vs. Kay Hansen (7-5)

  • Pick: Piera Rodriguez

MW: Anthony Hernandez (8-2) vs. Josh Fremd (9-2)

  • Pick: Anthony Hernandez

HW: Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) vs. Jared Vanderaa (12-7)

  • Pick: Aleksei Oleinik

Prelim Predictions:

WW: Mickey Gall (7-4) vs. Mike Malott (7-1-1)

  • Pick: Mike Mallott

WBW: #4 UFC Aspen Ladd (9-2) vs. #7 UFC Raquel Pennington (13-9)

  • Pick: Raquel Pennington

HW: #8 UFC Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-3) vs. #10 UFC Marcin Tybura (22-7)

  • Pick: Jairzinho Rozentruik

WW: Ian Garry (8-0) vs. Darian Weeks (5-1)

  • Pick: Ian Garry

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Main Card Predictions:

LW: Vinc Pichel (14-2) vs. Mark Madsen (11-0)

  • Pick: Mark Madsen (+115)

WSTRAW: #5 UFC Mackenzie Dern (11-2) vs. #7 UFC Tecia Torres (13-5)

  • Deciding Factor: While I believe Dern can control the mat, I believe Torres has the leverage in her striking and strike defense abilities to win her the fight. Dern has shown off almost every fight her ability to control her opponents on the ground and slowly will her way to a decision or submission victory. For Dern, 7 of 11 victories have come via submission and is 4-2 when going to decision. But Torres has seen fighters like Dern in the past, fighting top female talent in Weili, Jedrzejczyk, Andrade, and Namajunas. Although Torres lost these bouts, she still holds wins over Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill. Torres and Dern also have suffered a common loss in Marina Rodriguez. Torres is coming off of 3 straight victories, while Dern is attempting to bounce back from her 2nd career loss to the aforementioned Rodriguez. Even though Torres’ height and reach metrics are smaller than Dern’s, Torres beats Dern in almost all fighting metrics including strikes landed, strikes absorbed, defensive rating, takedown ability, and defense. Having the edge on these metrics against a stiffer level of competition gives me a fair amount of confidence in Torres. Expect this fight to go to a decision with a lean towards Torres to pick up her 4th straight win. 
  • Pick: Tecia Torres (+105)

WW: #9 BCDC Gilbert Burns (20-4) vs. #2 BCDC Khamzat Chimaev (10-0)

  • Deciding Factor: Chimaev is one of a kind, a fighter that Burns’ size and chin will not be able to handle. These fighters are hard to compare with statistics alone, but a resume of Chimaev will do.

Why I believe Chimaev will win:

  • Mauled every opponent so far (6 TKO’s, 4 Submissions) within 2 rounds
  • Utilizes a 4 inch heigh and reach advantage against Burns
  • Manhandled HW Alexander Gustafsson and #7 MW Jack Hermannson in wrestling
  • Delivered Li Jingliang his first submission loss since 2015 with ease
  • Burns’ chin is suspect at the WW division (TKO losses to Dan Hooker, Kamaru Usman)
  • Burns currently has as many wins over ranked WW’s as Chimaev (Stephen Thompson)
  • Chimaev’s intangibles and unknown factors are difficult to gameplan for

Why I believe Burns will win:

  • This is easily Chimaev’s most difficult matchup of his career
  • Showed solid strength in wobbling Kamaru Usman early into their fight
  • Has experience with other great wrestlers (Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley)
  • Should be able to take the fight to Chimaev without intimidation or remaining reactive
  • Chimaev’s struggle continuing to cut weight could be his downfall (ex: FW Dan Hooker)
  • Chimaev’s chin has yet to be tested or enter the deep waters during a fight

Overall, I think Chimaev just has too much going for him. This is a difficult fight to predict without bias, as I’ve been on the Chimaev train since his TKO victory over Rhys McKee in 2020. But Chimaev’s confidence is absurd, especially after continuing to dominate competition inside and out of the octagon. Could this be a brutal derailment to the Chimaev hype train? Probably not. I believe Chimaev will seek to end this fight early and in dominating fashion. Burns has yet to be finished via submission, but there is a great chance this could be his first. If Chimaev wins early and is explosive, I see him jumping Leon Edwards for the next title shot. I love Chimaev by finish in this fight, but a sprinkle on Burns by decision isn’t an awful choice either. Until proven otherwise, take Khamzat by anything he wants. 

  • Pick: Khamzat Chimaev (-490)

BW: #5 BCDC Aljamain Sterling (20-3) vs. #1 BCDC Petr Yan (16-2)

  • Deciding Factor: This is Petr Yan’s revenge for lost time as a champion. God, I love this matchup. Honestly, the backstory and the buildup since Yan’s DQ loss should have been enough to make this the headliner. You can insert the Oscar awards, clown emojis, and “paper champ” jokes, but what Yan did was highly illegal. It was an unfortunate ending to what seemed to be Yan’s first successful title defense. Ultimately, this bout damaged Yan’s status as a champion, as well as turned fans against Sterling for earning the belt through a DQ. It’s fair to say that Jacksonville will be an incredible atmosphere, as these two fighters will have plenty of animosity against each other, with revenge on the mind of the interim champ and current titleholder. 

By no means was the previous fight dominant by Yan, but it was starting to trend that way until the 4th round stoppage. Through the first 3 rounds, a pair of judges scored the fight 29-28 for Yan, with one other scoring 29-28 for Sterling. Aljamain Sterling had also landed more significant strikes – albeit on a much greater output and lower accuracy – than Yan until the stoppage. Sterling has also claimed that he had gassed himself out early into the fight, meaning that if this holds then there is a good chance of a closer match this time around. However, I’m not too sure that I buy it’ll be much different. Yan has started to become – highlighted by the Sandhagen fight – the best boxer at the bantamweight level. His output, accuracy, and precision are on a different level compared to Sterling. Yan was also able to land 7 of 7 takedowns, and defend 16 of 17 attempts by Sterling, forcing Sterling’s striking accuracy to under 46%, while landing almost 66% of his strikes in his DQ loss. I believe Yan has all the tools he needs to get the victory this time, and I’d like to throw in that Yan’s ability to pick apart his opponents could cause Sterling to gas out again. Sterling had thrown over 100 more strikes than Yan to only outstrike him by 16. I love this matchup, and I do believe Sterling is the fighter with the highest chance of pulling off an upset in the men’s main card fights. That being said, I believe it’s more competitive but we see a 48-47 or 49-46 UD for Yan. If you’re feeling freaky, maybe toss a few dollars on a split decision.

  • Pick: Petr Yan (-475)

FW: #1 BCDC Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) vs. #4 UFC Chan Sung Jung (17-6)

  • Deciding Factor: A top Pound-for-Pound champion should be able to handle business against a middle-tier contender coming off a significant shoulder injury. Volkanovski is the best featherweight we’ve seen in the past few years, which was put on display during his title defense against Ortega in 2021. His ability in standup, submission defenses against a ground superior Ortega, and cardio have kept him serving as champion in dominating fashion. Although some controversy from fans from his two fights with Max Holloway, there is no doubt that Volkanovski is the most well-rounded competitor the division has to offer. 

Chan Sung Jung – known to many as “The Korean Zombie” – is solid, but often inactive during his career as he returns from a shoulder injury. He looked good against a top contender in Dan Ige during his last bout, but this fight is too much for him. In 3 of his last 4 defeats, TKZ lost by TKO, with the lone 50-45 UD loss coming against none other than Brian Ortega. MMA mathematics with Volkanovski’s dominant victory over Ortega points to the reasoning for the landslide odds. At this point, Volkanovski has to feel very confident fighting against an opponent not named Ortega or Holloway for the title, as these 3 belong in a featherweight league of their own. Are the odds horrendous for a title fight? Absolutely. Should Volkanovski win this with ease? Most likely. Instead of playing the money line by itself, use Volkanovski as a parlay piece or for this fight not to go the distance. I don’t like the return from injury for TKZ coming against the UFC’s #3 Pound-for-Pound fighter, but I do like the future of the featherweight division remaining in Volkanovski’s hands. 

  • Pick: Alexander Volkanovski (-760)

What Emrick’s Betting:

  • Parlays:
    • Ian Garry, Khamzat Chimaev, Petr Yan, Alexander Volkanovski ML’s
      • 1u to win 1.23u
    • Ian Garry, Khamzat Chimaev, Mark Madsen ML’s
      • 0.5u to win 1.15u
    • Khamzat Chimaev to win by TKO/KO/DQ & under 1.5 rounds
      • 0.3u to win 0.825u
    • Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev NOT GO THE DISTANCE, Mark Madsen ML
      • 0.5u to win 1.16u
  • Straight Bets:
    • Anthony Hernandez ML
      • 2u to win 1.52u
    • Aleksei Oleinik ML
      • 1.5u to win 1.363u
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