Bantamweight and featherweight champions will compete on Saturday night when UFC presents a pay-per-view card from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
In the main event, Alexander Volkanovski is scheduled to face promotional vet The Korean Zombie.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Early Prelims (6:30PM EDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT) (ESPN / TSN 5)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT) (PPV)
Bout 12: Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) vs. The Korean Zombie (17-6) (UFC Featherweight Championship)
Volkanovski Dominates Zombie To Defend Featherweight Belt For Third Time
Alexander Volkanovski had a dominant showing against The Korean Zombie, finishing him with strikes to defend his UFC Featherweight Championship for the third time.
Referee Herb Dean made the call to stop the fight in the fourth round after Volkanovski stunned Zombie on the feet with a combination of punches. This stoppage came after Volkanovski nearly finished the fight in earlier moments and likely took all rounds on scorecards.
It became clear early on that Volkanovski had the sharper strikes. He scored clean punches in the opening round, stunning Zombie at times. He also kept active with leg kicks, dropping Zombie with one late in the round.
Volkanovski continued to have Zombie’s number on the feet in the second round. He also started to mix takedowns into his game plan in this round, getting Zombie down twice.
Volkanovski came close to a finish late in the third round, dropping Zombie with a right hook. He then landed hard ground and pound to Zombie until the round ran out of time.
Zombie was checked on by the referee and a doctor before the fourth round started. The fight was officially put to an end less than a minute later.
Volkanovski first earned his belt in 2019 with a decision win over Max Holloway. He then overcame Holloway in a rematch, then beat Brian Ortega via unanimous decision last year.
UFC initially intended to book Volkanovski against Holloway this year for their trilogy bout. Zombie was picked as a new opponent for Volkanovski after an injury forced Holloway out of a March booking.
Zombie had won three of his previous five bouts in the UFC cage. His previous fight was a five-round unanimous decision win against Dan Ige.
Zombie mentioned afterward that he felt confident heading into the fight but had a frustrating time against Volkanovski.
“It felt like I hit a wall that I cannot go over,” said Zombie, reflecting on the bout in his post-fight interview.
When asked about his future in fighting, Zombie said he is still thinking about what his next move will be.
Bout 11: Aljamain Sterling (20-3) vs. Petr Yan (16-1) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
Sterling Earns Close Decision Win Over Yan In Rematch, Defends Bantamweight Belt For The First Time
Aljamain Sterling secured a second win over Petr Yan on Saturday night, winning an airtight split decision to defend his UFC Bantamweight Championship for the first time (48-47 Sterling, 48-47 Yan & 48-47 Sterling).
Sterling’s victory over Yan closed out a controversial rivalry that has lasted over a year.
The fight opened with a close round on the feet. Both fighters had a conservative start in striking exchanges as a clear feeling-out process was underway. It was not known at that time, but it would end up arguably becoming the closest fight in the entire 25-minute contest.
Sterling dominated the second round, scoring a takedown and taking the back of Yan just seconds into the frame. Sterling then spent the majority of the five-minute stanza landing punches from the back of Yan.
Sterling won the third round, although not in a dominant fashion. Similar to the second round, he took the back of Yan on the ground again. However, unlike last time, he didn’t unload with as many strikes.
Yan recovered in the fourth round, earning numerous minutes of control time from full guard.
Yan stuffed numerous takedown attempts from Sterling in the final round. He brought Sterling down to his knees in the final minute of the fight and mounted his back for a few moments before the round ran out of time.
Sterling was crowned the UFC Bantamweight Champion last year when he fought Yan for the first time. In that fight, Yan was disqualified for landing a knee to the head of Sterling while he was a grounded fighter.
The rematch between Sterling and Yan has been attempted for months but suffered some delays. Yan became the interim bantamweight champ during this waiting period, going five rounds against Cory Sandhagen to win a unanimous decision last year.
Despite being the main champion heading into Saturday night, Sterling was billed as a massive underdog by oddsmakers.
With his rivalry with Yan in the rear-view mirror, Sterling set his sights on a new opponent after his win.
“TJ Dillashaw where the f*** you at? You’re next,” said Sterling in his post-fight interview. Dillashaw, who was in attendance for the fight, looked enthusiastic about the potential fight.
Bout 10: Gilbert Burns (20-4) vs. Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) (Welterweight)
Chimaev Gets Decision Nod Over Burns, Scores Biggest Win Yet
Khamzat Chimaev prevailed in the biggest test of his UFC career thus far, defeating high-ranked welterweight Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision after three rounds of damaging striking (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Chimaev’s win wasn’t easily attained, as Burns pushed him harder than any of his previous fights in the promotion.
The first round started close, as Burns and Chimaev both connected with shots on the feet. Chimaev was aggressive throughout the round, but strikes from Burns slowed his momentum at times. Chimaev took Burns down, but the fight was only on the ground briefly in the opening minutes.
Chimaev closed out the first round on a high note, dropping Burns with a lead right jab.
Burns visibly stunned Chimaev halfway through the second round with a combination of punches. Chimaev came back with his own punches that hurt Burns shortly after.
The welterweights finished the second round by trading with wailing shots. Chimaev took an overhand right during this exchange, dropping him to the ground hard in the process.
The fighters continued to go back and forth with punches in the final round. Like he did earlier in the fight, Burns tried but failed to take the contest to the ground. Fatigue became a significant factor for both fighters late, as the bout remained competitive but their outputs slowed.
Saturday marked the first time that Chimaev went the distance in a pro MMA fight. His four previous UFC bouts all finished in either the first or the second round. This included his previous bout, which was a first-round submission win over Li Jingliang.
Burns, a former welterweight title challenger, was coming off a unanimous decision victory that he scored against Stephen Thompson last year.
Bout 9: Mackenzie Dern (11-2) vs. Tecia Torres (13-5) (Strawweight)
Dern Bounces Back With Close Decision Over Torres
Mackenzie Dern returned to the win column Saturday with a close split decision victory over fellow ranked strawweight Tecia Torres (29-28 Torres, 29-28 Dern & 29-28 Dern).
Dern’s victory came from a mix of her high-level grappling skills and close battles on the feet.
The first round saw Dern and Torres compete in boxing exchanges. Dern was able to unload with combinations during these moments to potentially edge out one of the two rounds she won on scorecards.
The second round of the fight was Dern’s best, as her grappling kept Torres from deploying her own attacks. Dern mounted Torres to attempt a kimura during the round. Dern lost the submission once the fight went to the ground, although she remained in a dominant position and continued to attempt holds on Torres.
The striking of Torres allowed her to finish strong in the third round. This round in part was what made the result of the fight so close in the end, as the last round went to Torres and the opening frame was close.
Dern’s previous fight was a five-round unanimous decision loss to Marina Rodriguez last year. Before then, she had strung together a four-fight winning streak that included three armbar submissions.
Torres entered the weekend on a three-fight winning streak, including a recent win against veteran Angela Hill.
Bout 8: Vinc Pichel (14-2) vs. Mark Madsen (11-0) (Lightweight)
Madsen Takes Decision Over Veteran Pichel
Mark Madsen added another win to his undefeated pro run on Saturday night, defeating veteran Vinc Pichel via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Madsen opened the fight by showcasing his striking skills, out-landing Pichel on the feet in the opening frame. While Pichel was able to have some moments in the second round, the dominant wrestling of Madsen took over late and earned him enough rounds to win the fight.
Madsen’s flawless pro record now includes four wins since he turned pro in 2019. His previous victory came against veteran Clay Guida, who he beat via split decision.
Pichel entered Saturday on a three-fight winning streak.
Bout 7: Ian Garry (8-0) vs. Darian Weeks (5-1) (Welterweight)
Garry Goes The Distance Against Weeks To Remain Undefeated
Ian Garry kept his undefeated record intact in the final prelim, out-scoring Darian Weeks in stand-up exchanges to win via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Garry kept his fight on the feet against Weeks for all three rounds. The fight did not have any massive moments where Garry took over, instead he out-paced Weeks for most of the time.
Both fighters were returning after making their UFC debut last year.
Garry, a former Cage Warriors Welterweight Champion, won his UFC debut with a finish against Jordan Williams. His record now includes nine wins as a pro.
Weeks entered the UFC roster with a short notice opportunity. In that fight, he lost a unanimous decision to Bryan Barberena.
Bout 6: Anthony Hernandez (8-2) vs. Josh Fremd (9-2) (Middleweight)
Hernandez Beats Fremd In Return
Anthony Hernandez picked up a return against UFC newcomer Josh Fremd, defeating him via unanimous decision after a tough battle (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Hernandez opened the fight with a strong first round, pushing the pace against Fremd in both stand-up and grappling positions.
Fremd proved to be a threat on the ground during the second round, attempting submissions that forced Hernandez to defend. Hernandez had a strong finish to the round, unloading with ground and pound, including a hard knee to the body.
Hernandez secured his victory with a dominant third round, taking Fremd down early and spending most of the frame in control on the ground. In these positions, he mostly landed punches but also attempted submissions.
Hernandez was fighting for the first time since he pulled off a big upset last year, handing Rodolfo Vieira his first pro loss via submission.
Fremd joined the UFC roster after a strong run in regional promotions like FAC and LFA.
Bout 5: Aspen Ladd (9-2) vs. Raquel Pennington (13-8) (Bantamweight)
Pennington Earns Fourth Consecutive Win
Raquel Pennington kept her momentum rolling on Saturday night with a unanimous decision victory over Aspen Ladd (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Pennington landed the better shots in what was mostly a stand-up battle on the feet. She mentioned after the fight that she had to battle through adversity early as a shot thrown by Ladd injured one of her hands.
Pennington is now on a four-fight winning streak since 2020. Her previous fight was up a weight division, where she submitted Macy Chiasson.
Pennington called out fellow veteran Sara McMann in her post-fight interview.
Ladd was looking to recover after losing a five-round fight to Norma Dumont at featherweight last year.
Bout 4: Mickey Gall (7-4) vs. Mike Malott (7-1-1) (Welterweight)
Malott Finishes Gall In UFC Debut
Mike Malott had an explosive UFC debut on Saturday night, stopping Mickey Gall in the first round with punches.
Malott dropped Gall in the fourth minute with a combination of an overhand right and left hook. This pairing of shots made Gall crash to the canvas. Malott then landed hammerfist strikes on the ground until the referee finished the bout.
Malott was appearing for the first time since winning on “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year. He now has eight wins through 10 pro fights.
Gall has now lost two consecutive fights. His previous bout was a decision loss to Alex Morono late last year.
Bout 3: Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) vs. Jared Vanderaa (12-7) (Heavyweight)
Oleinik Reaches Milestone With Win Against Vanderaa
44-year-old fighter Aleksei Oleinik scored his milestone 60th professional win on Saturday night, securing a first-round submission win against short-notice opponent Jared Vanderaa.
Oleinik caught Vanderaa with a neck crank for a tap to end the fight. This came after a back-and-forth grappling battle on the ground that saw control change numerous times between the heavyweights.
Oleinik’s win put an end to a few months that saw him struggle to find a fight. He was previously booked in recent months to face both Greg Hardy and Ilir Latifi, with those matchups falling through.
Vanderaa stepped in after Latifi withdrew from this card.
The win on Saturday also snapped a three-fight losing streak that Oleinik that he attained between 2020 and 2021. This included fights against high-level names like Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus.
Bout 2: Piera Rodriguez (7-0) vs. Kay Hansen (7-5) (Strawweight)
Undefeated Rodriguez Defeats Hansen In UFC Debut
Piera Rodriguez kept her undefeated record alive during her first UFC appearance, securing a unanimous decision win over Kay Hansen after three rounds (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Rodriguez’s best moments during the fight were on the ground, earning control time against Hansen on the ground. A fair amount of the bout also took place on the feet, where the strawweights engaged in close exchanges.
Rodriguez, a former LFA Strawweight Champion, joined the UFC roster last year with a win in “Dana White’s Contender Series.” She now has a flawless pro record of eight wins since turning pro in 2017.
Hansen has now lost three consecutive fights in the UFC. Her previous fight was in January when Jasmine Jasudavicius beat her on scorecards.
Hansen missed weight for the fight on Friday, coming in two-and-a-half pounds over the weight limit.
Bout 1: Julio Arce (17-5) vs. Daniel Santos (10-1) (Bantamweight)
Arce Bounces Back With Win Over UFC Newcomer
Julio Arce got the best of a three-round striking battle against Daniel Santos, defeating him via unanimous decision after three rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
Santos was always the advancing fighter, pressing forward on the feet. However, it was Arce that had the better striking overall and landed most frequently.
The boxing from Santos mixed with periodic head kicks allowed him to land the better strikes in most exchanges during the fight. His most notable strike was in the first round, where he landed a clean head kick to wobble Santos.
The fight put Arce back into the win column after suffering a finish loss against Song Yadong last year. His UFC record is now five wins and three losses.
He slightly missed weight for the fight, coming in half a pound over the limit on Friday.
Santos was making his UFC debut with a pro record of 10 wins through 11 appearances. He was also competing for the first time since 2019.