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Alexander Volkanovski will try to extend his unbeaten run in the UFC and defend his featherweight title for the third time against “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, in UFC 273 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.
Volkanovski was initially supposed to face Max Holloway for a trilogy bout in March, but Holloway pulled out with an injury, and the UFC provided Jung with an additional month to prepare for his second title shot (he lost to Jose Aldo at UFC 163). Many consider Jung — the No. 4 featherweight contender — as undeserving of this opportunity. And with the betting market as high as -800 (88.9 percent) implied in favor of the champion, a Jung (+550) win on Saturday would be nearly as big of an upset as Julianna Pena (closed +700) against Amanda Nunes.
Can Jung become the fifth featherweight champion in UFC history? Or will the fight play out as one-sided as the betting market suggests?
My projections make Jung a 16 percent underdog (+509 implied odds), but I wouldn’t touch his moneyline below +600 (14.3 percent implied). I show value on Jung to win either by knockout (projected +915) or inside the distance (projected +620). You can find those odds as high as +1100 and +700, respectively.
I prefer to bet that the fight will end inside the distance (projected +111, listed +125 at WynnBet) or Under 4.5 rounds (listed +130 at MGM) at a similar price point.
Jung is not as durable as his nickname might suggest, and Volkanovski’s decision prop is overvalued based on a recent run of decision wins (seven of his past 10 fights). If Jung doesn’t get Volkanovski out of there early, I suspect the champion will chop his lead leg down and eventually put him away.
The play: Fight Ends Inside the Distance (+125 at WynnBet).