Written by Mark Long
JACKSONVILLE, FL – Alexander Volkanovsky defeated Chan Sung-jung at UFC 273 early Sunday, taking seconds of technical knockouts in the fourth round to retain his featherweight belt.
The 33-year-old Volkanovsky (24-1) extended his professional winning streak to 21, including an 11-0 mark in the UFC competition.
Jung, known as the “Korean Zombie,” is battered and bloodied and struggling to breathe after the first three rounds. He insisted he wanted to continue, but the referee stopped the match 45 seconds into the fourth of the five tournament rounds.
“Very good (expletive),” Volkanovsky shouted inside the octagon after his latest victory.
“Alexander the Great” delivered most of the blows in a battle that looked like it might end much earlier than it actually did. Volkanovsky’s last four battles went the distance. But he was much faster than Jung, essentially setting up a clinic in mixed martial arts.
“I’m on another level now and I can’t be stopped,” said Volkanovsky, adding that he had hoped the referee would stop the fight soon and that he felt bad for Young in the final minutes.
“It felt like I hit a wall that I couldn’t get past,” said Young, who was playing his first title match since 2013. He’s gone 3,171 days between picks in the featherweight belt.
The 35-year-old Jung fell on the carpet after the fight call and later indicated through an interpreter that he might consider retiring.
The main event was the most lopsided on the UFC 273 main card.
Aljamain Sterling became the undisputed bantamweight champion by defending his belt against Peter Jan. They were involved in a controversial disqualification a little over a year ago. Yan Hu had dq’d for an illegal knee after he dominated the fight.
Sterling (21-3) looked like a different fighter in this match, as Yan dominated the playing mat for nearly eight minutes in the second and third rounds. Yan (16-3) struggled again in the last two rounds, doing enough to get a split decision.
“I think I won this battle and got robbed,” Yan said. “I want a second match.”
Sterling had no plans to fight a three-way fight with Yan, and instead invited former Bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw for his next match.
The UFC’s third trip to Jacksonville in three years attracted a crowded home that included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovsky, defensive end Las Vegas Raiders Max Crosby, Jaguar minority owner Tony Khan and legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross.
They were treated to an epic event.
Not only did they have two title fights to round out the night, but they had the best bout of the year. Swede Khamsat Shemayev took another step towards mixed martial arts stardom with a unanimous decision against 35-year-old Brazilian Gilbert Burns in the welterweight division.
Chemayev and Burns went toe-to-toe for three rounds, exchanging punches and raising their features. It was Chimayev’s most impressive trip to date and proved to be a potential candidate for the tournament.
Chemayev (11-0) remained undefeated and answered any lingering questions about how much he could improve by beating second-seeded Burns (20-5).
“I didn’t know he was so cruel,” Shemayev said.
Chimayev has not gone into the third round in any of his previous professional fights. He was gassed and injured in the last round of this round, his first against a ranked opponent.
“That’s what I’ve been waiting for,” said Shemayev, a large wound under his left eye. “I’m aching, bloodied and tired.”
Other battles on the main card:
Mackenzie Dern (12-2) used split decision against Tecia Torres to win the fifth time in her last six fights. With her husband and young daughter sitting by the cage, Dern dominated the second round thanks to a variety of Brazilian jiu-jitsu moves. But 32-year-old Torres (13-6) got away with two surrenders and was impressive over the final five minutes to nearly tease the fifth seeded woman in the strawweight division.
Three-time Olympian Mark Madsen remained unbeaten (12-0) by unanimous decision over 39-year-old Vince Bischel (14-3) in the lightweight category. Madsen won the silver for Denmark at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.