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UFC 243: Whittaker vs Adesanya - Oct 5 🇦🇺

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On Saturday 5th October (or Sunday 6th if you’re Down Under) the UFC is back on PPV and back in Australia with this in Melbourne...


Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya - Middleweight Title

Al Iaquinta vs Dan Hooker

Tai Tuivasa vs Serghei Spivak 

Luke Jumeau vs Dhiego Lima 

Justin Tafa vs Yorgan De Castro


Jake Matthews vs Rostem Akman 

Callan Potter vs Maki Pitolo

Brad Riddell vs Jamie Mullarkey

Megan Anderson vs Zarah Fairn Dos Santos 


Ji Yeon Kim vs Nadia Kassem 

Khalid Taha vs Bruno Gustavo Silva  


Love the main event but to borrow a phrase from Michael Bisping, for a PPV that’s “weak as piss” isn’t it? As much as I like the Iaquinta vs Hooker fight, if (god forbid) Whittaker vs Adesanya falls off this card (and given Whittaker’s track record...I don’t want to jinx it), unless they’ve got a fucking good backup to step in, you can’t be headlining a PPV with Iaquinta vs Hooker, can you? Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. Anyway...



Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya tops the bill. Huge fight for Melbourne with both being sort of adopted home fighters. Whittaker is New Zealand born but lives and trains in Sydney, Australia. And Adesanya is Nigerian-Kiwi and has fought much of his career in Aus/NZ. It’s a big fight anyway but particularly for that part of the world. With that out of the way, regardless of nationality and all that, this is a hell of a fight. We haven’t seen Whittaker for a good while now. He hasn’t fought since June 2018. He’s had no luck with injuries and health issues over the last year or two. I almost don’t want to hype this fight up too much in case he gets hurt again and it’s called off. Let’s look at it glass half full though. 


We first saw Robert Whittaker on The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes back in 2012. It was a UK vs Australia season and one of the last great seasons of TUF before it got stale beyond help. Whittaker was 9-2 coming into the show and competed as a Welterweight. I don’t remember much of him on the show. As we’ve come to know about him, he doesn’t have a lot to say at the best of times. From what I recall, he was the quiet guy in the house who just went about his business and knocked people out. He wound up winning TUF, beating Brad Scott in the Finale. 

He didn’t do too well after that at 170lbs though. He went 3-2 overall as a UFC Welterweight, and got stopped by Wonderboy Thompson in early 2014. In late 2014 he moved up to 185lbs and hasn’t lost since. He’s gone 8-0 as a Middleweight and has surpassed what I think many would’ve expected from him coming off the TUF win back in December 2012. The decision to stop cutting down to 170, combined with improvements in his game and the natural gains in experience fight by fight saw him racking up wins over the likes of Brad Tavares, Uriah Hall and Derek Brunson among others in 2015 and 2016. And in April 2017, he got his first big break. 


He took on Jacare Souza on the main card on Big FOX. This was by far the biggest name Whittaker had faced at this stage in his career. Jacare is a beast and one of the most decorated and respected BJJ artists in all of MMA. On top of that he’d developed a knockout right hand since jumping to MMA that he’d put a few people out with. This was a huge opportunity for Whittaker but most thought he’d lose handily. I guess Whittaker didn’t get the memo because he battered Jacare. 


Outstruck him, avoided his grappling, beat him up and stopped him with a TKO via headkick and punches in the second round. Massive win for Whittaker that really opened a lot of eyes. It wasn’t just that he beat a guy like Jacare, which is impressive enough, it was how he did it. This was no lucky KO. He was stellar from bell-to-bell that night. Jacare didn’t seem to have any answers for him. 

Michael Bisping was the Middleweight champion at the time but he was out with a knee injury. So the UFC set up an interim title fight for July 2017. 


Whittaker would face Yoel Romero. It was Whittaker’s first PPV main event, his first UFC title fight and his first 5 rounder. And against fucking Yoel Romero! But Whittaker once again rose to the occasion, winning a unanimous decision in a close, exciting fight. With the win he became the first ever Australian/Kiwi UFC champ. 


He had a little face-off with Bisping post-fight and it briefly looked like they were going to unify the belts in a fight later that year but it wasn’t to be. Whittaker needed time out for a knee injury and the UFC were going with a Bisping vs GSP fight anyway. Of course, GSP ended up beating Bisping but relinquishing the Middleweight strap so the UFC upgraded Whittaker’s interim title to the real thing. 


Whittaker was now undisputed champion of the world. He was set to defend against Luke Rockhold in February 2018 in Perth but Whittaker pulled out with complications from a bad staph infection. Yoel Romero stepped in and waffled Rockhold into oblivion. Lovely. 

So we were all set for Whittaker vs Romero 2. This time Whittaker made it through camp and at UFC 225 in June 2018, it happened...


They went the full 5 rounds again and this one was even more brutal than their first fight. One of the best fights of 2018 easy. And Whittaker showed insane toughness and heart to survive Romero’s onslaught. 


Whittaker somehow got through this and won a razor close decision, retaining his UFC gold. I remember thinking Romero won at the time but it was a tremendous fight regardless and Whittaker fought his arse off. 

Whittaker was supposed to defend against Kelvin Gastelum next. They coached TUF, did the press conference, media, even the weigh in and everything. But just hours before the show, Whittaker was out again. This time it was a hernia and a “twisted and collapsed bowel”, which sounds fucking horrific. 

So yeah, he’s been out ever since. Hopefully he’s sorted now. He’s really grafted to get where he is. It’d be a shame to see him derailed by health problems right when he’s reached the pinnacle of the sport and about to make the real coin.  

Of course, MMA waits for nobody and the division moved on in Whittaker’s absence. In the year plus since Whittaker’s last fight we’ve seen Bisping, GSP and Rashad Evans retire. Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza have moved up to 205. Paulo Costa has emerged as a new player at 185. Beasts like Yoel Romero and Kelvin Gastelum have kept trucking. It’s all happening. Probably the biggest story over the last year as far as the Middleweight division goes though, has been the arrival of this man...



Israel Adesanya AKA ‘The Last Stylebender’ burst through the UFC’s doors in early 2018. He came in with a lot of hype boasting a 75-5-1 Kickboxing record, some Pro Boxing fights under his belt and a perfect MMA record of 11-0 with 11 knockouts. He also came in with a certain swagger and charisma that got peoples’ attention right off the bat. He’s a bit of an enigma to me. I’m not sure what to make of him. He’s got undeniable skills and I like his style and that he’s always got something to say. He’s a boost to the division and certainly adds some spice and flavour to the mix. But in the cage, he’s been hit and miss for me in the UFC. On paper, he’s still perfect. He’s gone 6-0 in the UFC so far. So he’s now 17-0 overall. Can’t argue with that. But he made kind of hard work of his UFC debut against Rob Wilkinson, went to a close split decision with Marvin Vettori in his second UFC outing and went the whole 5 rounds with decent but mediocre Brad Tavares in his fight after that. The only time he’s really looked as spectacular as he gets hyped up as was when he blitzed through Derek Brunson at MSG in November. Not knocking him, I’m just not fully on board that he’s quite the killer people say he is. 

He’s had an eventful 2019 though, no doubt. 



In February he beat the legendary Anderson Silva in a fun 3 rounder. Again, not to beat it to death but this kind of speaks to my point - if Adesanya is the monster he’s hyped up as, should a 43 year old last legs Anderson Silva have been taking him the distance? Whatever. It was one of those cool past vs future clashes and it was a nice passing of the torch moment. 

It was in April we got to see Adesanya really put to the test though. 


He took on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim title in the co-main event of UFC 236. They went 5 rounds and it was an amazing rollercoaster back and forth war. It’s the FOTY so far for me and quite easily. Both had each other hurt, both got dropped, they traded big 10-8 rounds. It was incredible to watch. If for some reason you haven’t seen it yet, you need to. 


Adesanya got the decision and rightfully so, IMO. Such a great, great fight. It answered some questions on Adesanya like his toughness, ability to go 5 rounds in a hard scrap, his heart etc. But it raised other concerns like how the much shorter Gastelum was able to get in and land so many big shots on him. 

Now we get Whittaker vs Adesanya.


Champ vs Interim Champ. Their few interactions at the press conference were interesting, with Adesanya trying to provoke a reaction and Whittaker not biting. The fight itself should be fantastic though. Adesanya will have to have improved because I think Whittaker is a bigger, better, less predictable version of Gastelum. But the lay-off could also be a factor. Either way it should be a good one. And it being in Australia will only add to the atmosphere and drama of the whole thing. 

Whittaker vs Adesanya promo. Skip the first 30 seconds or so of ads, it’s worth it;

Love that. Suppose I could’ve just posted that instead of this stupidly long post. Tells the story perfectly. 


Al Iaquinta vs Dan Hooker could be the show stealer here. Even under that main event. This is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** for Melbourne. I love this matchmaking. It wasn’t even a fight I was really thinking about either. I was thinking of slightly bigger names for Al but I’m well happy with this. Raging Al’s coming off that loss to Cerrone anyway so throwing him right back in there with a top ranked guy mightn’t have been the best idea. Hooker is still a tough fight but maybe a necessary step back. There has actually been a bit of trash talk from Hooker here, which is unlike him. He called out Iaquinta after he knocked out James Vick in July, and Hooker claims Iaquinta turned the fight down. Iaquinta says it’s bollocks and he was always up for the fight. Whatever the case, it’s happening now and it should be a scrap and a half. Iaquinta has a point to prove coming off that Cerrone loss and Hooker is one of the more overlooked guys in the division for me.



Tai Tuivasa vs Serghei Spivak should be a good old fashioned Heavyweight slobberknocker. Two big heavy hitters here. I’m glad they moved Tuivasa back a few steps. It’s clear he got pushed too much too soon. He went from fighting Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker to fighting Andrei Arlovski and Junior Dos Santos before he’d even hit double figures in fights. Completely skipped a couple of levels and he wasn’t ready for it. He’s fun though. I don’t think he’ll ever trouble the title scene but he could be a kind of new Mark Hunt who has wild scraps and now and then lands a main event. He’s 8-2 now and coming off back-to-back losses to Blagoy Ivanov and JDS. He was 8-0 before that though and is still only 26 years old. Spivak is just 24, 9-1 with all 9 wins being finishes. Got stopped in under a minute by Walt Harris in his UFC debut though. 



Luke Jumeau vs Dhiego Lima I’m not really into but it could be OK. I’ve probably seen Jumeau before, can’t say I have any recollection of him though. But that must be one of the more punchable faces on the entire roster. For that reason alone I hope Lima chins him. Jumeau is 13-4 and has fought in the UFC 3 times. Like I say, no memory of him. Lima is 14-7 and the lesser known, less successful brother of Bellator beast Douglas Lima. Dhiego is basically the Marty Jannetty to Douglas’ Shawn Michaels. Not a bad fighter but the comparison isn’t favourable. He’s coming off a couple of wins over Court McGee and Chad Laprise though. Seems a good guy so hopefully he stays on the winning track here.



Jake Matthews vs Rostem Akman could be alright. Matthews is Aussie, 25 years old and has a 14-4 record. He’s lost mostly to good fighters and he’s still young enough to chalk it up to experience and bounce back. But he needs to be stringing some wins together now. He got subbed last time out against Anthony Martin so he’s trying to get back in the W column here. Akman made his Octagon debut on the Sweden show in June and dropped a decision to Sergey Khandozhko. He’s 6-2 with 6 finishes. I only really remember him as the guy who wore a wooly sweater during his fight though. Just look at that bastard! 



Megan Anderson vs Zarah Fairn Dos Santos is another fight that’s just not grabbing me. I get why it’s there with Anderson being the hometown girl but it’s just filler. I still think there’s good fights to come out of Anderson but I don’t see the potential in her like I once did. She’ll probably be decent on these Aussie cards and at the prelim level but I just think her lack of grappling isn’t going to cut it past a certain point. Dos Santos I know nothing about. Looking her up she’s 32 years old, 6-2 record with 4 finishes. 



Ji Yeon Kim vs Nadia Kassem is one I’ll take a look at. Kim is Korean, nicknamed ‘Fire Fist’ and has a 8-2-2 MMA record. Kassem is where my interest lies here though. She’s Australian, only 23 years old and is 6-1 with 4 finishes. She suffered her first defeat in February, getting submitted by Montana De La Rosa. Before that she was obviously unbeaten and she won her first 4 fights by knockout in about 2 minutes combined! Her first 3 fights lasted 26 seconds or under. Granted, that’s low level opposition but that shit doesn’t happen often, especially when we’re talking about 125lb women. I’m interested to see if she can rebound here or if she just fizzles out coming off that first loss. 



Khalid Taha vs Bruno Gustavo Silva was originally on the 242 card in Abu Dhabi but got moved here for some reason. Only seen Taha once and that was his 25 second stoppage win over Boston Salmon earlier this year. So yeah, not much to go on. He’s 13-2 with 11 finishes. I’ve never clapped eyes on Silva. He’s making his UFC debut, 10-3-2 record. 



Justin Tafa vs Yorgan De Castro is a complete unknown for me. New blood at Heavyweight. Quickly looking them up, Tafa is from Australia, 3-0 with 3 knockouts. De Castro is 5-0 with 4 knockouts and was on Dana’s Contender Series. Someone’s O’s gotta go. 



Callan Potter vs Maki Pitolo is another total unknown. Never even heard of these two. Potter is Aussie, 35 years old and 17-8 with 16 finishes. He actually fought on the undercard of Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva in February but I don’t remember him. Pitolo was on Dana’s Contender thing from what I’m seeing. He’s Hawaiian, 11-4 with 8 finishes and his nickname is ‘Coconut Bombz’. 

So that’s your lot for UFC 243. Not the strongest lineup, is it? But at least BT won’t be charging PPV for it. Or at least I fucking well hope not. 



Edited by wandshogun09
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Someone on Twitter compared Israel Adesanya to Grace Jones and, well it’s nearly killed me.  I can’t unsee it now. 

It’s usual time for us, Al. The prelims on BT kick off at 1am with the main card at 3am. Without checking the time zones I think it goes down Sunday morning in Australia to accommodate US PPV. That’s

Could Israel Adesanya have looked any more of a superstar last night? From the entrance to the performance itself to setting up that grudge match with Costa post-fight. It played out perfectly. As muc

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As much as I shit on Barry Chuckles, this is such an interesting match. Style Bender looked human against the fat lad, but showed he's going to have a scrap of it goes that way. This is the sort of match that establishes either man as the best in the world.

In a perfect world we get a 5 round back and forth with Style Bender winning to set up a rematch. Please.

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@Egg Shen I actually thought about him while I was typing the opening post. Hasn’t fought since Shogun beat him in December. 

Apparently he’s undergone reconstructive knee surgery. I remember him blowing his knee out during the Shogun fight actually so it all adds up. He was piling up the losses as well so maybe the time away will be good for him in one way. But if his knee is knackered it might never be right again. 

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Mousasi would beat these two dweebs with ease.......................

In all seriousness, this is one hell of a fight and will indeed decide who is the best middleweight on the planet. I literally have no idea how the two fighters' styles will gel with one another. But I can't wait to find out. Nevertheless, despite his inactivity, I think Whittaker starts as favourite. He's the more proven fighter at this time. The only blemish on his record at Middleweight is that most thought he lost the rematch to Romero - and even that was more of a catchweight fight as Romero didn't make weight. 

I imagine the UFC, and most who follow the sport, will be rooting for a Stylebender victory. Adesanya is potentially a superstar in the making. 


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Says a lot about what a piss poor job UFC have done with this card, that there's a UFC PPV in my country, featuring my favourite fighter in the main event, and I'm not bothering to go. It's a stadium show, and it's basically a Fight Night quality card with a PPV worthy main event. Compare that to the last time UFC were in the same venue (UFC 193) and it's night and day.

Plus, I've been burnt by Whittaker before. Went to the other side of the country and splashed out a couple grand on a weekend in Perth for UFC 221, only for Rob to pull out a couple of weeks out. Thankfully didn't shell out for going to UFC 234, where Rob pulled out the night before. Whittaker vs. Adesanya should be an amazing fight, but I can't get psyched for it until both men are standing in the cage.

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4 hours ago, Shane O' Mac Version 2 said:

Says a lot about what a piss poor job UFC have done with this card, that there's a UFC PPV in my country, featuring my favourite fighter in the main event, and I'm not bothering to go. It's a stadium show, and it's basically a Fight Night quality card with a PPV worthy main event. Compare that to the last time UFC were in the same venue (UFC 193) and it's night and day.

Plus, I've been burnt by Whittaker before. Went to the other side of the country and splashed out a couple grand on a weekend in Perth for UFC 221, only for Rob to pull out a couple of weeks out. Thankfully didn't shell out for going to UFC 234, where Rob pulled out the night before. Whittaker vs. Adesanya should be an amazing fight, but I can't get psyched for it until both men are standing in the cage.

It's a pretty risky strategy by the UFC here, that's for sure. They're essentially placing the success of the event on the shoulders of a man who's been unlucky with injury and illness enough times in the past that it wouldn't surprise anyone should he fall out of the fight at the weigh-ins.

If that happens, the whole thing is fucked.

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37 minutes ago, David said:

It's a pretty risky strategy by the UFC here, that's for sure. They're essentially placing the success of the event on the shoulders of a man who's been unlucky with injury and illness enough times in the past that it wouldn't surprise anyone should he fall out of the fight at the weigh-ins.

If that happens, the whole thing is fucked.

It's kinda mad that there seems to be zero contingency plan in place should the worst case scenario happen and either Whittaker or Adesanya drops out of the main event. There's not even a top ranked middleweight on the card that could step up in an attempt to re-shuffle the card. At least last time at UFC 234, Adesanya vs. Silva was a big co-main that didn't look out of place being bumped to the headline spot, and had Gastelum been the one forced out of the fight, they could have easily thrown Israel in there to fight Rob.

Iaquinta vs. Hooker should be an excellent fight. But it's not exactly a marquee match that could main event at Marvel Stadium, is it?

I think UFC have realised that the Aussie fanbase are just appreciative about having fight cards. Dana White would be loving some of the Aussie social media activity surrounding this event- you get some people criticising the lack of ranked fighters/big names appearing for this UFC stadium show, and A LOT of other people jumping down their throat, saying "just be grateful and stop bitching". I can just picture Old Baldy sitting back reading that shit and going, "Yes, dance, puppets, dance!"

But considering how loaded UFC 193 was, the gripes are fair IMO. We set UFC's all-time attendance record and we get a bunch of unranked fighters and a good selection of guys and girls making their UFC debuts. This event doesn't pass the "Wikipedia" test- about 3/4 of the fighters on the card don't even have a Wiki page.

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Yeah, you hate to tempt fate but putting all your eggs in the basket of Robert Whittaker not falling to pieces before fight night is a risky move. There’s no Plan B at all if this goes wrong. You’d have thought it’d be worth flying Paulo Costa out there and paying him something to make weight just in case but whether Costa wasn’t up for that or what, it doesn’t seem like that was ever really an option. Couldn’t really blame Costa, unless they really made it worth his while financially, it’d hardly be the ideal scenario you want for a training camp not knowing whether you’re getting the shot or not. 

If 243 was a stacked card it wouldn’t be so bad. But this is the cost of the jam-packed schedule. You always seem to get a thin card around this time of year as they’re loading up the November and December PPVs. It’s shit for the Aussies though. If that main event falls out, as much as I like the Iaquinta vs Hooker fight, it’s pretty much a Fight Pass card. 

As long as this Whittaker vs Adesanya fight goes ahead, I think everyone will be happy. I really really hope it does. It’s such a great fight. It’s a shame that Whittaker’s track record of injuries/illnesses seems to have got people hesitant to get too excited about it but I get why. And the piss weak undercard just kills off the buzz even more. I really think this is going to be a crazy fight if it does happen though. I think all the buzz for this is going to be post-fight on Sunday morning. 

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