UFC 243: Whittaker vs. Adesanya Preview
In Melbourne, Australia, at the Marvel Stadium — the biggest fight in Australasian history is set to take place for the Middleweight world title — as Australian champion Robert Whittaker will look to defend his belt against New Zealand representative, Israel Adesanya.
Over 55,000 fans will be there live to see this huge Trans-Tasman collision which has the whole world split.
Whittaker has been adored by hardcore fans for his no nonsense approach to MMA. With no trash talk in the build up to his contests, he simply turns up and gets the job done. His rise to the belt without mass promotion was an impressive one. He stopped Derek Brunson in his home country and then in a big upset win, he did the same to Jacare Souza.
With the champion at the time Michael Bisping being injured, a fight with Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medallist and all-round physical specimen Yoel Romero for the interim title was offered to him, and he gladly accepted.
Despite injuring his leg early in the fight, he was able to produce an excellent striking performance to pick up the belt after a five round war.
When Bisping was defeated by Georges St. Pierre, the title would end up vacant and Whittaker would be promoted to full champion. A homecoming defence was arranged against Luke Rockhold, but unfortunately an injury meant that Romero would step in for a rematch.
A frightening knockout for Romero meant that a rematch with Whittaker had to take place. After two comfortable rounds everything seemed to be going according to plan when suddenly the Cuban heavily dropped the champion and nearly finished the fight. This would happen again in the fifth round, and the Australian would have to use all his heart, skill, and experience to see the fight out and retain his title.
Another opportunity for a homecoming was ruined a while later, when after weighing in for his fight with Kelvin Gastelum, Whittaker would suffer a collapsed bowl and an abdominal hernia of the intestine. He had to undergo emergency surgery and would only wake up during the main card which he should have been headlining.
With the main event gone, Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya took top billing. In a superb striking display, Adesanya announced himself to the world, and with no return in sight for the champion — an interim title fight between Gastelum and Adesanya was announced.
In an all-out war where both men hit the canvas multiple times, it was Adesanya who emerged victorious, landing several knockdowns in the fifth round.
Now at Marvel Stadium, the two best Mixed Martial Artists in Australian and New Zealand history will settle the debate on who should rightfully hold the title as the best Middleweight on the planet.
In a fight that many can’t call, it could be either man who picks up the victory. Will Whittaker have too much experience and grit? Or will the inactivity, alongside Adesanya’s elite kickboxing be too much for the champ to deal with? In a fight that simply cannot fail to entertain, not only will Australasia be watching, the whole world will be too.