Following the high octane UFC Fight Night in Mexico last weekend, where Jared Cannonier owned Jack Hermansson in the middleweight main event, UFC is now all set to take over 'the land down under' with a brilliantly stacked up card for UFC 243 at the Marvel stadium in Australia.
The main event features a swashbuckling encounter between the current interim middleweight champion, 'The last stylebender' Israel Adesanya and his long-time adversary Robert Whittaker in an epic middleweight title unification bout.
As if the thrilling main event was not enough, UFC 243 also boasts of a mouthwatering co-headliner which will see lightweight contenders Al Iaquinta and Dan 'The Hangman' Hooker battle it out for a place at the top of the Lightweight division.
Middleweight title bout (Main Event) - Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker
This bout needs no introduction as it will see two massively talented and abundantly gifted athletes go toe to toe in what is expected to be an action-packed back and forth encounter for bragging rights and a spot at the pinnacle of the Middleweight division in the UFC.
While Adesanya is known for showboating inside the octagon, possessing laser-like striking accuracy and is often likened to the legendary Anderson Silva, his opponent Whittaker is a no-nonsense, cold-blooded killer inside the cage with lightning-fast hands that can put a man to sleep in the blink of an eye.
This one is set to be a nail biter for sure!
Since his move to Middleweight, Whittaker has remained undefeated. With nine straight victories over the likes of Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Robert is a vicious striker with devastating knockout power.
He has also showcased incredible grappling skills while going up against elite wrestlers in his career. Whittaker is coming out of a serious injury but he claims that he is more than ready to get back inside the cage against 'The last stylebender'.
In a recent interaction with the media before UFC 243, the current champion stated ” The last couple of years have been a bit up and down, but I feel absolutely amazing. I do believe in ring rust if you’re not doing certain things to prepare yourself for competition. If you’re not competing at all, if you haven’t competed at all and you’re not used to the adrenaline dump, not used to the pressure that comes with competing, then certainly the pressure is going to get to you and you might falter but on the back of that emergency surgery that I had to undergo, I just doubled down on my health. I’ve just become stronger, better for it.”
Israel Adesanya has an undefeated 17-0 record, and he is coming into this fight riding on the back of a blazing streak with wins over his idol Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson and Kelvin Gastelum.
What makes Adesanya so dangerous and unpredictable is the fact that he is a former kickboxer with impeccable technique and is also dynamic on his feet, often managing to leave his opponents clueless about his next move. The Nigerian born New Zealander is a quickly earning a 'fan favourite' tag in the company. While his ground game remains an area of concern, the prolific striker has shown that he is more than capable of overcoming adversity when he faced Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight.
Brimming with confidence, the cocky Adesanya feels that Whittaker is not unlike anything he has come across during his time at the UFC and is confident that he will prove to be too much for Robert to handle.
In a recent press conference The Last Stylebender was quoted as saying, “Robert’s a guy I can pick apart easily. A challenge I haven’t faced before? I don’t think so. He just does what he does very well. There’s only a certain amount of awkwardness that he has that I haven’t seen before, but he can try to prove me wrong. From what I see, though, I’ll pick him apart quite easily. I’m just going to do what I always do in there. Once I get flowing it doesn’t matter what he brings or what he presents to me.
Lightweight Bout (Co-Main Event) - Al Iaquinta vs Dan Hooker
The competition in the lightweight division is tougher than ever and Saturday's co-headliner is a great example why. Dan Hooker is looking to break into the Top 10 by beating 'Raging Al' and picking up the biggest win of his career on the grandest of stages while Al Iaquinta hopes to hold his position in the top brass of the lightweight division and that makes for a combustible fight between two of the most talented fighters around.
Al Iaquinta has faced the toughest fighters in the division. After the valiant performance against Khabib last year, Al has consistently featured in main events, sharing the cage with Kevin Lee and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in five-round bouts.
With his agility and his wrestling, he keeps opponents guessing and does not allow them the room to breathe easy. Iaquinta needs to get back to winning ways to maintain his place in the rankings. Although he has shown respect to his opponent, Al remains confident about getting the all-important victory against Dan.
In a pre-fight interview, Iaquinta stated, “I think Dan’s a very tough opponent. He’s the kind of guy that you got to put out. He doesn’t go out easily. So the goal is to put him out early. The goal is to finish the fight quick and easy. And I think that’s definitely a possibility. I have a lot of things that I’ve been working on that I think I could land early in the fight, but if not, I know he’s tough and I know it’ll be a 15 minute beat down”
Dan "The Hangman" Hooker is entering the Octagon on Saturday on a back of a first-round knockout win over James Vick back in July. The Hangman looks to finish his opponents every time and has various weapons in his arsenal to end fights. His powerful striking and opportunistic grappling will be difficult for Iaquinta to handle.
Speaking to the media , the New Zealand born fighter said, “I’m not looking to get in arguments; I’m just looking to fight. I always feel like I just have to be straightforward with it and I don’t have to build a persona or a character because my fights are very entertaining and people want to see me fight; they know what my fights entail and they’re excited to watch my matches. I don’t need to do the Colby Covington, ‘make up some fake persona, talk a bunch of trash’ because my fights aren’t boring as hell."
Other bouts on the card
Heavyweight Bout - Tai Tuivasa vs Sergey Spivak
Welterweight Bout - Luke Jumeau vs Dhiego Lima
Women's Bantamweight - Holly Holm vs Raquel Pennington
When and where can you catch all the action from UFC 243?
Watch UFC 243 featuring Robert Whittaker vs Isreal Adesanya Live and Exclusive in India on 6th October 2019 from 07:30 am (IST) on SONY TEN 2 & SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 3 & SONY TEN 3 HD (Hindi) channels.
For more News and Rumors visit UFC News.