UFC President Dana White is planning yet another massive MMA spectacle in Australia.
After re-upping for an additional 10 years with the world’s MMA leader, White recently spearheaded the unveiling of the UFC’s all-new Apex facility in Las Vegas. There was, of course, a lot to talk about. One of those things was the awaited middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. The huge fight has predictably been linked to Australia. Speaking to reporters during a scrum from Apex (via MMA Junkie), White teased an event so huge it would “blow the f***ing doors off’ the country:
“I’m going to put on a fight, this fall in Australia, that’s going to blow the (expletive) doors off of that country. It’s going to be a massive event over there.”
A Worldwide Spectacle
With both Whittaker and Adesanya having obvious ties to the Land Down Under, the buzz will assuredly be pre-installed. However, White hinted that the event will be viewed on a global scale as well:
“What’s crazy is, this massive event that’s going to happen in Australia, people in the U.K. are going to watch it, people in Europe are going to watch, people in U.S., Canada, Brazil – the world will watch this fight.”
Long Road To Unification In Australia
Undisputed champion Whittaker has been out of action since his five-round war with Yoel Romero at June 2018’s UFC 225. It was the second straight fight where he topped the Cuban “Soldier of God.” Yet it could be argued the wins took years off of his career. He’s been hindered by repeated injuries following both fights.
Whittaker was set to defend the title against Kelvin Gastelum at February’s UFC 234 from Australia – his second such scheduled bout in a year – but was forced out due to emergency hernia surgery. Adesanya fought and defeated Anderson Silva in the short-notice main event there. The Nigerian-born striking phenom then went on to face Gastelum in another classic five-round war at April’s UFC 236. He came out on top with the interim title in tow.
‘The Reaper’ has only been able to fight sparingly recently, with two fights opposite Romero since April 2017. Adesanya, meanwhile, has been the opposite. ‘The Last Stylebender’ has fought an unreal six times since debuting in the UFC in early 2018. He won each fight to earn his shot at Whittaker. The fight is yet to be announced. But October 5’s UFC 243 is rumored to be going down in Sydney, Australia.
For what it’s worth, the UFC put on their biggest show ever in terms of live attendance when Holly Holm shocked Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November 2015. The card was attended by 56,214 fans at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. UFC 243 (if that is the event) will have a tough time toppling that. Either way, it’s no doubt going to be a massive card as White suggests.
Who are you picking to win between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya?