Alexander Volkanovski | Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
Alexander Volkanovski is expecting another classic.
Seven months after winning a thrilling five-round decision against Brian Ortega, the UFC featherweight champion sounded primed to put the exclamation point on his third scheduled title defense when he fights “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in the main event of UFC 273 this Saturday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
Volkanovski addressed the Jacksonville crowd on Friday afternoon at the ceremonial weigh-ins, telling them to prepare for war.
“Jacksonville, fire up!” Volkanovski said. “We’re putting it on. We’re going to f****** war and you’re going to see f****** greatness.”
Jung, the other half of the headliner, gets a long-awaited second crack at UFC gold after stepping in as a replacement for Max Holloway. “The Korean Zombie” lost to Jose Aldo at UFC 163 in August 2013 and battled his way back to a title shot with a 4-2 record that includes wins over former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, Renato Moicano, and Dan Ige.
“I’ve been waiting the last 10 years to fight for another world title, and tomorrow’s the day,” Jung said at the ceremonial weigh-ins.
Co-main event bantamweights Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan were also given the microphone at the ceremony and took different approaches to hyping up their rematch. Sterling defeated Yan by disqualification to become bantamweight champion — the first time a UFC title had ever changed hands in that manner — at UFC 259 in March of last year. Once Sterling was shelved while he recovered from neck surgery, Yan went on to defeat Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 to capture an interim belt.
Amid a smattering of boos, Sterling addressed the crowd and promised entertainment.
“This is a big opportunity,” Sterling said. “The fans are in for a great fight. Jacksonville, you guys are some of the best fans, so you guys are in for a great showing tomorrow night. I can’t to go out there and perform and finally right this wrong, put the boogieman to rest and shut everybody up. Remind the world who the ‘Funkmaster’ is, baby, let’s go!”
Yan spoke before Sterling and offered a more concise prediction for their rematch.
“Guys, he is doomed,” Yan said.
Watch their tense faceoff below.