UFC 243 preview: What time does Whittaker vs Adesanya start, full fight card, prediction and more

Alex Pattle

The UFC comes to Australia this weekend as Marvel Stadium in Melbourne hosts UFC 243.

The main event sees Australian middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (20-4) defend his belt against undefeated interim titleholder Israel Adesanya (17-0), while lightweights Al Iaqinta and Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker of New Zealand clash in the evening’s co-main event.

Nigerian-born New Zealander Adesanya won the interim middleweight strap in April after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in a fight of the year contender, marking his sixth win in as many fights after joining the UFC 14 months prior.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

By contrast, Whittaker has been out of the Octagon for some time due to various injuries, the most recent of which saw his scheduled February defence against Gastelum cancelled. That scrapped bout was the second attempted title defence on home soil to fall through for Whittaker, who will hope that he makes it into (and out of) the ring unscathed,

Here’s everything you need to know:

When is UFC 243?

The preliminary card starts at 12am (BST), followed by the main card at 3am (BST), with the main event fight expected to begin at around 5:30am.

How can I watch it?

The event will be shown live on BT Sport 1, the BT Sport App and BTSport.com for subscribers.

Prediction

Both Whittaker and Adesanya are incredibly versatile and dangerous, and the odds show this one is a ‘pick ‘em’. The tall, rangy Adesanya is in the form of his life, having remarkably fought and won six times in just over a year since entering the UFC, and Whittaker’s last bout – 16 months ago – saw the Aussie take a lot of damage in his second consecutive win over middleweight monster Yoel Romero.

That said, Gastelum – despite a distinct height and reach disadvantage – was able to land regularly and heavily on Adesanya earlier this year, and should have finished ‘The Last Stylebender’.

Whittaker still has a shorter reach and height than his challenger this weekend, but not as severely as Gastelum. ‘The Reaper’ is also quicker and more well-rounded than Gastelum. Given Gastelum was able to damage ‘Stylebender’ as much as he did when the pair met, the experienced Whittaker should be able to inflict enough of an assault on his opponent to leave Marvel Stadium with his belt still around his waist.

Expect a war, though.

Israel Adesanya is a fast-rising star (Getty)
Israel Adesanya is a fast-rising star (Getty)

Full card

Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya (ic) – middleweight championship

Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker

Tai Tuivasa vs. Serghei Spivac

Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima

Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro

Prelims

Jake Matthews vs. Rostam Akman

Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo

Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos

Brad Riddell vs. Jamie Mullarkey

Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim

Khalid Taha vs Bruno Silva

Odds

Whittaker 5/6

Adesanya 5/6

What to read next