UFC 273 takes place tonight from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. The card is stacked, featuring matchups which provide a lot of fan intrigue, even on the prelims.
When examining the card on paper, the story of UFC 273 is the card of mismatches. The top three fights are the main fights that everybody is talking about. A featherweight title fight in the main event, a bantamweight title unification bout in the co-main event, and a featured welterweight bout with MASSIVE implications for the division and who’s next for a title shot.
However, while all of these fights are largely intriguing and are the driving force behind selling this card, on paper each of these fights are a massive mismatch when it comes to the betting odds, featuring odds rarely ever seen in MMA. Let’s break it down.
Featured Welterweight Bout: Khamzat Chimaev (11) vs. Gilbert Burns (2)
The #2 ranked welterweight in the world, Gilbert Burns, faces a challenge tonight with an upside that is hard to find for Burns when he takes on Khamzat Chimaev, the scariest and more promising prospect MMA has ever seen, at least according to most. Even UFC President Dana White has said he’s never seen anybody like Chimaev. So, with this being Chimaev’s biggest shot by far to date, you’d expect him to be the massive underdog to such a big challenge. Instead, it’s the exact opposite that’s true.
According to FanDuel at the time of writing, Chimaev is a -490 favorite against #2 Burns, who is a +380 underdog. Many experts have said that Burns is being massively disrespected, however at the same time many experts are also saying they don’t necessarily disagree with the odds and think that Chimaev will continue on his road of dominance with another beat down.
Bantamweight Title Unification Co-Main Event: Aljamain Sterling (C) vs. Petr Yan (IC)
Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling faces a familiar competitor when he takes on interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan in a rematch for the unified, undisputed bantamweight championship tonight. This is the fight that has serious bad blood.
In their first fight back at UFC 259 Sterling became the first ever person to become champion due to a disqualification after Yan hit him with an intentional illegal knee. After that, the two began jawing at each other and haven’t stopped since. Check out this story for a full timeline of the bad blood between the two.
In what was seen during their first fight before the disqualification, Yan was largely dominating for the most part. Because of that, oddsmakers DO NOT like Sterling’s chances in this long-awaited rematch.
According to FanDuel as of writing, Yan is a -430 favorite with Sterling at a +340 underdog. Again, odds that are extremely rare for MMA at this high of a level, especially a title fight.
Featherweight Championship Main Event With A Replacement Challenger: Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung (4)
In a fight that was originally supposed to be the trilogy fight with Max Holloway, The Korean Zombie stepped up to the challenge after Holloway was forced to pull out due to injury. However, oddsmakers don’t exactly like his chances against Volkanovski who has been dominant as champion and currently stands at 3rd in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.
According to FanDuel as of writing, Volkanovski sits at an astounding -700 favorite over The Korean Zombie, who finds himself as a +500 underdog. In terms of most MMA fights, odds like this are rarely ever seen because at the end of the day it’s still a fight and anything can happen in a fight. At the level of a UFC title fight, odds like this are practically unheard of. These are more similar to boxing odds when a young hot contender is facing off against an opponent that they’re made to beat easily on their come up. Odds like this at a UFC championship level are perhaps once in a lifetime odds.
So, if you were to parlay together the three dominant favorites on this card (Chimaev -490, Yan -430, Volkanovski -700) you would STILL be in favorite odds with -144 odds on a three leg parlay. That’s how big of a favorite they each are. If you wanted to throw in MMA prospect Ian Garry, who fights on the main event of the prelims and is standing at a -360 favorite according to FanDuel, you would finally tip over to underdog odds with +116 for a four leg parlay.
Garry is another one of MMA’s hottest prospects like Chimaev. Check out our interview with Garry from a month ago here if you haven’t seen it:
If you’re a fan of riding with underdogs or betting heavily on heavy favorites, this is certainly the card for you!
For transparency purposes, I wanted to share what my bets are for tonight as always. Tonight, I’ve got a three leg parlay on FanDuel taking Ian Garry by KO/TKO (+125), Petr Yan moneyline (-430), and a double chance on Alexander Volkanovski by KO/TKO or Submission (+150). Parlayed together those odds are +593. I put $10.12 for the chance to win $60.04 (I bet the additional $0.12 just so that my winnings would be over $60).
Best of luck to everybody and enjoy the fights!