The highly anticipated UFC 243 takes place on Saturday night, live from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
The main event has middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and interim middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya meeting in a title unification bout.
When MMA fans get a great fight like this, there are certainly plenty of bets to be made. Let's take a look at some of them.
Whittaker vs. Adesanya odds
As of Oct. 4, online sportsbook SportsbookReview has this as an even fight. Whittaker comes in at -110, meaning you'd need to wager $110 to win $100, and Adesanya comes in at -120, meaning if you bet $120, you'd net $100.
The 28-year-old Whittaker (21-4) is arguably the best middleweight in the UFC. Since moving up to 185 pounds in November 2014, he is undefeated in seven bouts, with four of those victories coming by stoppage. Injuries and a subsequent lack of activity, however, have prevented him from solidifying his title reign, which started when he captured the interim title against Yoel Romero at UFC 213.
We haven't seen much of Whittaker's groundwork because of his fantastic takedown defense, as evidenced by Romero, an Olympic silver medalist, not being able to get Whittaker on the mat. His striking was top-notch when he went toe-to-toe with Romero and beat him by split decision in their return bout at UFC 225 in June 2018, one of the best fights of the year.
Regardless of what Whittaker brings to the table, Adesanya (17-0) is the man many pundits believe is not only is the future of the division but perhaps the future of the sport. His Matrix-style striking has led him to amass 13 knockouts, including highlight-reel finishes over Derek Brunson at UFC 230 and Rob Wilkinson in his UFC debut at UFC 221.
The odds reflect how close the fight is. The top two fighters at 185 pounds will battle for both middleweight supremacy and bragging rights in the feud between neighboring countries; Whittaker represents Australia while Adesanya lives in New Zealand.
If you compare resumes, however, Whittaker has the edge because of his two bouts with Romero and former two-time welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson. Adesanya's resume includes an over-the-hill Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum. The latter bout earned him the interim belt at UFC 236 in one of the most exciting contests in 2019.
Adesanya has also been the more active fighter. Since the beginning of 2017, "The Last Style Bender" has fought eight times to Whittaker's three. Activity is significant because it gives a fighter the opportunity to improve in the gym with each passing fight camp. MMA is an ever-evolving sport, and Whittaker's focus has been on getting healthy rather than improving his skill set. Adesanya has been inside the Octagon, competing and putting rounds in the bank. That work has allowed him to show incremental improvement.
Because of that, this is Adesanya's fight to lose. The match will be a war, so cardio will play a role if the bout gets into the championship rounds. Adesanya also showed in the Gastelum fight that he can handle the pressure when the result is on the line and get the job done.
SN's pick: Israel Adesanya
Best bet: Robert Whittaker; WagerWee (+100)