They’re back — and getting ready to pack a punch once more.
As posted on official UFC partner website, UFC 273 is scheduled for April 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the third stop of the global mixed martial arts circuit on the First Coast.
The website, listing Jacksonville as the April 9 location, says that “ticket packages will soon be on sale” but does not specify additional details about ticketing for UFC 273.
The event has not yet been announced by UFC president Dana White or by officials from the city of Jacksonville.
Both previous trips of UFC to Jacksonville marked firsts for major American sports since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first visit, a series of three fight nights in May 2020 that included UFC 249, resumed major sports after a deep freeze of nearly two months, during which athletic competitions both in the United States and abroad had ground to a halt. Last year, UFC also selected Jacksonville for UFC 261, the first full-capacity major indoor sporting event in the nation since the arrival of COVID-19.
The latter card drew more than 15,000 spectators, including a trio of title fights — Valentina Shevchenko defeated Jessica Andrade, Rose Namajunas captured the women’s strawweight belt from Zhang Weili and Kamaru Usman overcame challenger Jorge Masvidal. Tickets for the fights sold out within one hour and 44 minutes, even though spectators had to sign a COVID-19 waiver.
Welcome back, UFC:Kamaru Usman, Rose Namajunas knockouts highlight Jacksonville fights
The April 9 card remains to be determined in full, but the featured bout is expected to pit UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski of Australia against challenger Chan Sung Jung, known in the MMA world as the Korean Zombie.
Also expected, as reported by the USA Today Network’s MMAJunkie.com, is a bantamweight championship between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
City officials have been clearing the way for UFC’s arrival for weeks. In December, the Jacksonville Icemen arranged a swap of home dates with the Atlanta Gladiators, clearing the arena for action on April 8-9.
UFC’s arrival would further add to a particularly busy week in the sports complex, which will include the opening week for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp as well as concerts with Justin Bieber and The Brothers Osborne.
Clayton Freeman covers high school sports and more for the Florida Times-Union. Follow him on Twitter at @CFreemanJAX.