Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie — UFC 273 Preview

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This weekend, the Ultimate Fighting Championship hosts its first event in Florida since the beginning of the pandemic. UFC 273 features not one but two title fights – thankfully, both bouts are weighed and official. The first title contention of the night is the long-awaited sequel bout between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan, while the main event sees featherweight champion “The Great” Alexander Volkanovski fighting “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

Catch the event live on ESPN+ and you can sign up here.

Volkanovski vs The Korean Zombie

After ripping the featherweight belt away from Max Holloway, 33-year-old Volkanovski heads into his third title defense this Saturday night after brutally mauling Brian Ortega eight months ago. Fight fans know that the Australian is a force to be reckoned with as he rides into UFC 273 on an incredible 20 win streak.

While Volkanovski was initially pitted for a trilogy fight against Holloway, the former champ dropped out due to an injury. So, meeting the champion across the Octagon is The Korean Zombie, who has lived up to his name on more than one occasion and comes in with a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige. Both The Korean Zombie and Volkanovski are well-loved in the fight community, but unfortunately, only one of them will exit the Octagon as a champion.

Bringing Volkanovski’s belt back Down Under

The Australian champion’s 20-fight win streak doesn’t come from nowhere – he’s fought the best in the featherweight division and beat them. His debut in the UFC back in 2016 ended with him viciously grounding and pounding Yusuke Kasuya, throttling him straight into the featherweight scene. Since then, “The Great” has knocked out the likes of Jeremy Kennedy and Chad Mendes and scored unanimous decision wins against Shane Young, Darren Elkins, and even former-champion José Aldo.

The holes in Volkanovski’s game are few, but even then, his opponents have not been able to exploit them successfully. Despite his KO-heavy record, he has scored three submission wins, although all before his career in the UFC. His ground defense and gas tank is some of the best in the game, and fans have seen “The Great” go through five-round bouts without breaking a sweat.

But could The Korean Zombie be the one to break the champ’s 20-win streak?

The Korean Zombie’s second taste of gold

This isn’t the first time The Korean Zombie has had a shot at championship gold. Back in 2013, the 35-year-old suffered a brutal round 4 KO loss against former champ José Aldo but has been slowly bouncing back since. 4th ranked The Korean Zombie holds impressive first-round wins against Dennis Bermudez, Renato Moicano, and Frankie Edgar – the latter of which during a hometown fight, in front of a Korean crowd.

Knockout power isn’t the only thing that The Korean Zombie possesses. During his UFC debut back in 2011, he submitted Leonard Garcia in a twister a mere second before the end of the second round. He’s also submitted Dustin Poirier with a crazy d’arce choke during his first headlining event in 2012. There are indeed levels to The Korean Zombie’s high-level game, but still plenty of holes are also available for his opponent to exploit.

Has The Korean Zombie got what it takes to claim South Korea’s first-ever UFC belt? There’s only one way to find out.

UFC 273’s main card starts at 10 PM EST and is available for purchase on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+.

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Jasmin is a writer-photographer who has worked in video games, music, travel, and more recently, MMA. Her fight background is in TKD, Muay Thai and Boxing though she's always wanted to roll with the BJJ crew. Follow her on Twitter @blaise_MMA

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