UFC 243 will mark the biggest combat sports event in Oceanic history. Marvel Stadium plays host to Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya looking to unify their respective titles in a bout scheduled for 25 minutes. Dan ‘The Hangman‘ Hooker, one of 155lbs’ biggest prospects, looks to impress his home crowd when he takes on Long Island’s Al Iaquinta in the co-main event.
We’ll run you through the fights-to-watch:
(c) Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs (ic) Israel Adesanya (17-0) – for undisputed UFC middleweight title
Australia’s Robert Whittaker and New Zealand’s Israel Adesanya are at the forefront of Oceanic martial-arts. On October 5th, they will square off for the chance to say that they are the best 185lb fighter in the UFC.
‘The Reaper‘ became the first Australian to capture UFC gold. The Aussie jumped through the middleweight rankings, eventually winning the interim title (which was then upgraded to the undisputed belt, following Georges St. Pierre’s retirement). Whittaker’s dynamic blend of traditional martial-arts and next-generation striking has led him to a total of 9 career victories via KO/TKO.
‘The Last Stylebender‘ sent waves throughout the 185lb division since his promotional debut in February of 2018. Within just 5 fights, the Nigerian-Kiwi could call himself an interim titlist. A former kickboxer, Adesanya uses an unorthodox array of movements and a variety of striking techniques to dominate his opponents.
Both men have paths to victory, but it won’t be easier for either. Whittaker could possibly use his rapidly evolving ground game, but it’s not expected. Whittaker is favoured, but a victory for ‘Stylebender‘ is not out of the realm of possibility.
Al Iaquinta vs Dan Hooker – lightweight bout
Both looking to edge their way into the title picture, ‘Raging‘ Al Iaquinta and Dan ‘The Hangman‘ Hooker will meet in a 3-round lightweight fight.
Iaquinta, who is 1-2 in his last 3 bouts, is known to possess KO power. Coupled with a solid ground game, the New Yorker has a strong arsenal of techniques that could be useful to him. The aggressive style of Iaquinta could give the Kiwi fits.
Standing at 6 feet tall and possessing a reach of 75 inches, Hooker specialises as a striker. With 10 of his 18 wins coming via KO/TKO, he is to be reckoned with. His rangey style could be the downfall of Iaquinta.
This matchup is guaranteed fireworks. Expect a terrific fight, with both men eager for a finish.
Tai Tuivasa (8-2) vs Sergey Spivak (9-1) – heavyweight bout
Fan-favourite Tai Tuivasa returns to action, seeking a win. In his way in young prospect Sergey ‘Polar Bear‘ Spivak.
Tuivasa, one of Australia’s finest, is currently on the wrong end of a 2-fight streak. With power in his hands, ‘Bam Bam‘ looks to reclaim his former top-contender status with a display of his knockout ability. Despite only having 10 fights in his professional career, the #14 ranked contender has fought the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Junior dos Santos & Blagoy Ivanov.
Spivak was touted as a potential contender when first entering the UFC. Unfortunately for him, he would lose his debut to Walt Harris via first-round KO. The Moldovan is looking to upset the hometown crowd in impressive fashion.
Tuivasa is expected to bounce back and walk away with the victory in front of a home crowd.
Also on the card, welterweights Luke Jimeau & Dhiego Lima clash in a 3-round bout. Opening the card will be a heavyweight clash between Justin Tafa and Yorgan De Castro.
How do you see these fights going down? Make sure to tell us in the comments and on our Twitter page, @ThePlanetMMA! Watch out for the Planet MMA staff picks, which debut on our Twitter page (big thanks to @erik-uebelacker for making the graphic).