Alexander Volkanovski mentioned he felt higher than ever. He mentioned his self-belief was at an all-time excessive. He mentioned he would cease Chan Sung Jung. And so it proved on Saturday evening in Jacksonville.
The Australian turned in a totally dominant show, feeding Jung with a sequence of heavy pictures to the top and physique, and even labored in a takedown for good measure.
Jung had no reply.
Now the time has come for Volkanovski to defend on residence soil. It has been greater than 4 years since he has had the pleasure of combating in Australia, the final time coming in Perth in February 2018, and his star energy is as shiny as ever. It is a fighter on the absolute high of his recreation, among the best pound-for-pound within the UFC, and he now deserves the prospect to battle on residence soil, the place he’s amongst Australia’s elite athletes.
Volkanovski informed ESPN within the lead-up that he was conscious of discuss of one other occasion in Melbourne in the direction of the tip of the 12 months, and there’s no yet one more deserving of the headline spot for an occasion over 50,000 followers would attend.
Might the event get to him? Unlikely. Onerous work and self-discipline are the cornerstones of Volkanovski’s success, a trait that endears him to his countrymen.
“It is simply drive, drive to be higher, at all times be higher in every single place,” he mentioned contained in the Octagon after the battle. “You will be higher in every single place.
“Have that drive, that motivation, and maintain on the lookout for methods to enhance, it is that straightforward…I am not probably the most athletically gifted man, onerous work and drive bought me to the place I’m, and look what I am doing.”
Hopefully, that may embody combating Down Underneath earlier than the 12 months is out. That, and the UFC discovering a worthy challenger to the 145-pound throne. — Sam Bruce
Sterling received honest and sq., however boos in all probability will not stop
Aljamain Sterling wins his long-anticipated rematch with Petr Yan by way of break up resolution at UFC 273.
Aljamain Sterling is the professional UFC bantamweight champion. Nobody can take that away from him. Sterling was panned as not an actual champ for greater than a 12 months. He solely received in March 2021 as a result of Petr Yan hit him with an unlawful knee and was disqualified. On Saturday evening at UFC 273, Sterling received honest and sq.. He went 5 rounds and beat Yan by break up resolution. That is what it says within the rulebook.
This counts as a title protection for Sterling, technically. However for a lot of, will probably be Saturday, April ninth, because the evening he was genuinely topped as champion. Sterling did it after neck surgical procedure and greater than a 12 months of boos and social media abuse. And he and his staff needs to be happy with a robust efficiency towards Yan, the favourite and the person many believed to be the very best on this planet at 135 kilos.
With all of that mentioned, Sterling will not have the ability to shake the boo-birds. It was an in depth battle — a break up resolution — and a few thought Yan received. The gang in Jacksonville booed the choice and booed Sterling all through. When he had Yan’s again on the bottom, the group jeered. In the meantime, when Yan had Sterling on the bottom, there was no such response.
Sterling may need firmly established himself as MMA’s equal of a “heel” by leaning into the fan resentment. For Saturday evening, it would not matter. He is a UFC champion and only a few ever get to say such a factor. However sooner or later, the bile from followers is one thing Sterling will possible proceed to should climate. — Marc Raimondi
Dern’s rise makes the ladies’s strawweights nearly as good as any division within the UFC
Mackenzie Dern reminded the world that her grappling skill can rework a battle. Tecia Torres was valiant on Saturday evening and proved she’s unimaginable to complete, however she fell quick towards Dern, who was only a bit higher. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout struggled to seek out a gap for a takedown or submission try within the first spherical, however discovered success through the use of the fence within the second. Within the third, her hanging and stress helped her safe an in depth break up resolution win.
Sure, Torres was in a position to maintain her normal excessive tempo and hanging quantity, however Dern was by no means in actual hazard, as her stand-up recreation continues to evolve in entrance of our eyes. After coming off a loss towards Marina Rodriguez, this was a giant win for Dern, even when she did not accomplish her objective of getting a end.
With Rose Namajunas defending towards Carla Esparza in Might and Joanna Jedrzejczyk returning in June for a rematch of former champions towards Zhang Weili, the highest fighters of the 115-pound division can stand tall in comparison with every other weight class within the promotion. Dern’s rise means we’ll have a sturdy set of fights to see within the second half of the 12 months.
Pennington reminds world that she’s nonetheless high of the category
A suspension took her out of the rankings for a time, however Raquel Pennington by no means actually left the highest of the bantamweight division. She made the very best of a short-notice name to exchange Irene Aldana towards Aspen Ladd, profitable by unanimous resolution.
And Pennington might be again within the high 5 of the division by Tuesday.
Pennington displayed strong combos and was on the lookout for a end within the first two rounds towards Ladd, a extremely touted prospect who has misplaced two in a row and three of her previous 4.
It was displaying at a time when Julianna Peña and Amanda Nunes are about to face one another for the second time, and there aren’t many choices for the following contender.
A rematch towards Aldana, whom Pennington beat by break up resolution in 2019, might make sense in the summertime when Aldana may be prepared for a comeback after the damage that sidelined her from UFC 273. – Carlos Contreras Legaspi
Garry is correct to stay affected person
Anybody hoping for a speedy ascent for Ian Garry was in all probability dissatisfied watching his efficiency in a unanimous-decision win over Darian Weeks. One of many UFC’s high prospects, Garry didn’t run by means of Weeks like many figured he would.
And that is high-quality.
Maybe it is even higher for Garry’s profession in the long run. Garry has mentioned he needs to be affected person and slowly work up the welterweight rankings. Had Garry are available in and smashed Weeks, it may need been tempting for the UFC to start throwing him to the wolves. Keep in mind, Garry is barely 24 years outdated. He has the charisma and abilities to be a giant star in MMA, however he additionally has the arrogance that you do not wish to mess with at this stage.
Garry and his staff have been adamant that they wish to take their time. He isn’t making an attempt to be the champion subsequent week or subsequent 12 months. If he does someday get to that degree, and he might, we may be trying again at this battle with Weeks as a studying second. Weeks gave him some bother, although Garry was the clear winner. Garry confirmed flashes of brilliance along with his hanging, a lovely jab, lightning-quick kicks and a artful proper hand. However he could not put Weeks away, and he additionally ate some pictures. And that is completely OK.
The UFC ought to give him one other opponent like Weeks subsequent. Any discuss of a ranked foe needs to be placed on the backburner. Garry idolizes Conor McGregor and what he is performed within the sport, however the McGregor-like rise shouldn’t be for everybody. There’s nothing unsuitable with taking it step-by-step. “The Future” is Garry’s nickname, but it surely would not should be tomorrow. – Raimondi