A plentiful plus-money party on Saturday will parade into
Jacksonville, Florida, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the
VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Many key BetUS lines
appear surprisingly lopsided based on those competing, with
extremely live underdogs in all three of the final fights of the
pay-per-view. It’s a dog day afternoon on this
UFC 273
edition of Prime Picks.

Where would a parlay of the final three underdogs clock in for this
fight card? For those wondering, it sits at +11656, meaning
throwing down $10 on that accumulator would net you about $1,166.
It may be an unlikely trio of outcomes to some, but look no further
UFC 217
for precedent of big upsets concluding a show. On the
other hand, the parlay celebrated by some for UFC 273, where the
final three heavy favorites all prevail, currently resides at -157.
A moneyline bet on any of those three is not nearly juicy enough,
and this three-leg play could be an important alternative if one
disagrees with the trio of options provided below.

The only fighter to ever oppose Jung as this big of a
favorite—currently -700—is all-time great featherweight Jose Aldo, who
ran roughshod over “The Korean Zombie” back in 2013. Unbeaten in
his last 20, incumbent champion Alexander
will bring with him an even longer winning streak
than Aldo’s 15 before meeting Jung. It is for good reason that
Volkanovski is heavily favored, as he has displayed not only an
extremely adaptable game but the ability to learn and evolve after
each fight. New skills were on display from the Aussie from one
fight to the next—regardless of how the bouts were
scored—and few can match his remarkable pace. On the other hand,
few possess the offense that the South Korean brings to the table,
with powerful strikes or dangerous submission skills that can
threaten at any time of the fight. Based on what Jung brings to the
table, a flier at +500 should not be overlooked.

Few men can outwork Holloway inside the cage, and based on his
totals and effective offense
, Volkanovski is such a man. A rare
breed, Volkanovski can beat someone at their own game or even show
that he can take everything they dish out and give it right back to
them. Brian
had him dead to rights with a guillotine choke in Round
3, with “T-City” famous for snatching victory from the jaws of
defeat, and Volkanovski not only fought out of it but ended up

winning that round
. Be it walking down Aldo, chopping
Holloway’s legs out or smashing his fists into Chad Mendes’
face, “Alexander The Great” has always risen to the occasion inside
the Octagon.

“The Korean Zombie” can be outworked, and his chin is not
impenetrable. A shade fewer than 50% of Volkanovski’s victories
have come by knockout, and all three in the UFC took place in the
second frame. While Volkanovski can serve as more of a computer as
he collects data and sets traps that opponents will fall for in the
later rounds, Jung is a remarkably fast starter. Gaining the
Aussie’s respect early will be key, whether landing against him on
the feet or tripping him up to make Volkanovski have to consider
takedowns. While some of Volkanovski’s past opponents have faded in
later rounds, Jung is not the type that will tire unless “Alexander
The Great” forces him to fight off his back foot for the duration
of their battle. A prop of this bout going the distance at -150 is
a suitable play, if one does not wish to spring for the upset or
navigate through the overwhelming favored status of the champion.
The safest options are likely either Volkanovski wins by decision
at -150 or the fight going over of 4.5 rounds at -145, but Prime
Picks lives on the edge.

The narrative of the first meeting between Sterling and Petr Yan has
shifted greatly, with a large swath of fans and media alike
dismissing the former’s early successes. Judge Ron McCarthy had
Sterling up the first two rounds, and all three gave “Aljo” the
second frame at minimum. It is unquestionable that Yan was picking
up steam while Sterling appeared to be fading fast, but it was
hardly a foregone conclusion that Yan would have won were it not
for the illegal knee. The Russian has shown himself to be a machine
since joining the promotion in 2018, with few flaws offensively or
defensively to exploit. The power he possesses—and the wherewithal
to not surrender any position for any longer than he has to—makes
him a destructive threat in his weight class. His takedown defense
proved nearly impregnable against the funk-style wrestler in their
first meeting, and he will have to put that on full display if he
hopes to prevail in the rematch.

Sterling’s pace and activity, where he came out of his corner each
round as if Jason Guida
had given him a series of slaps, showed to be frenetic and
unrelenting for the first 10 minutes of action. His almost frantic
pace, mixed with his inability to stop Yan’s takedowns, likely
played a factor in the bantamweight’s gas tank depleting as the
bout crept towards the 15-minute mark. Considering Yan’s astounding
accuracy—he landed 62%
of his significant strikes
—Sterling had some answers but
not enough of them, as he practically could not buy a takedown of
his own. Many believe Yan is the heir apparent to the unified
bantamweight throne, while Sterling may be rusty or have lost a
step after a year away to recover from injury and surgery.
Grounding Yan will be imperative in order for Sterling to win this
one, and with a slightly modified game plan and some creative
forced grappling exchanges, he has every chance of pulling it off,
making his line at +350 quite tantalizing.

No betting odds for this card jumped off the page more than
five-time welterweight and four-time UFC vet Khamzat
as an overwhelming favorite against former title
challenger Burns. Chimaev has decimated every test put in front of
him, including his two trips to the Octagon at 170 pounds against
and Jingliang
, barely getting a scratch. This step up in competition is
gigantic and perhaps unwarranted given how difficult it is for
welterweight contenders to burst onto the scene. Some have already
forgotten that Burns’ only defeat in his current division is to
current champion Kamaru
, a man he hurt worse than anyone ever had. Were it not
for Usman reasserting control of the match thanks to a piston-like
jab, “Durinho” might have been king. With stunningly heavy hands
and a penchant for the ground game as a Mundials champion, there is
no reason Burns should be this massive of an underdog against
anyone in his weight class, “Borz” included.

When Burns faced Usman—the champion was on a 12-fight winning
streak in the UFC alone—he checked in at +225. Fan and bettor
perception is so high on the Sweden-based Chechen that he is
expected to run through this Top 3 test. Meanwhile, so many
questions loom for the meteorically rising Chimaev. How does he
react when taking a punch flush on the chin? What does he do when
the fight hits the mat and the other person immediately attacks for
a submission? How will he fare once the bout reaches the seventh
minute? All of these and more make it shocking to see “Durinho”
with this line, as can threaten anywhere the bout goes until his
consciousness has been stripped away.

The mildest of the four presented plus-picks comes with a fighter
who is currently sitting as a pick-’em against late replacement
. Instead of facing Ilir Latifi,
a thick, wrestle-hungry Swede, he will be meeting a man with the
proper nomenclature of “The Mountain.” While a bit smaller than his
new opponent, Oleynik has never appeared concerned taking on
someone larger. On the wrong end of 44, there is no question that
Oleynik has lost several steps, and his tolerance for damage has
diminished nearly as much as his cardio. However, look back at
those recent knockout losses. If they are not forgivable—Alistair
is “The Demolition Man,” Walt Harris
only wins by knockout, Derrick
is the promotion’s all-time knockout leader and Chris
punched his way up the division with his remarkably
fast hands—they are at least understandable. Unless he gets caught
early by one of Vanderaa’s wind-up punches, he can drag the fight
to the ground and do what he does best.

A California native out of Team Quest, Vanderaa does not possess
one-punch knockout power in his division, despite his size, instead
relying on attrition and deceptively high volume to pound others
out. His Achilles heel, as far as his UFC run goes, has been his
practically nonexistent takedown defense. Both Sergey
and Alexander
tossed him around at will before getting the job done
late in the second frame, and Oleynik possesses the same kind of
in-your-face, grappling-heavy skill set to make Vanderaa’s life
miserable. The onus will be on Vanderaa to intercept an advancing
Oleynik or, better yet, press the Russian submission magician while
staying out of clinch range. “The Boa Constrictor” has shown a
remarkable ability to close the distance with power punches, even
landing them effectively before tying adversaries up and having his
way with them. Unless Vanderaa can blast Oleynik coming in, the
opportunity is too great for Oleynik to wrench his man to the
canvas, where he can pound on him, snag hold of an exposed limb or
neck or even set up his patented Ezekiel choke while pulling
guard. is
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