Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya set to headline UFC 243 in Australia

One of the biggest fights in Australian mixed martial arts history has just been signed.

Australia’s reigning UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will make his return to the Octagon when he faces New Zealand’s interim UFC Middleweight champion and former kickboxing champion Israel Adesanya in the main event of the UFC 243 pay per view which is set to take place in Melbourne, Australia.

The UFC announced the bout Tuesday evening.

Whittaker (20-4, 11-2 in UFC) made his UFC debut back in December of 2012 to win “The Smashes” season of the Ultimate Fighter. He won the tournament in the Welterweight division where the Australian born fighter went 2-2 overall before making the move up to Middleweight. Since then, Whittaker has remained undefeated at 185, going 9-0 inside the division en route to the interim Middleweight championship that he earned after defeating Yoel Romero at UFC 217 in July of 2017. Whittaker would later be promoted to undisputed champion after current champion Georges St. Pierre relinquished the belt due to illness. Whittaker was supposed to make his first title defense back at UFC 225 last July when he competed in a rematch against Romero. However, Romero failed to make weight for the bout and the fight was subsequently made a non-title bout.

Adesanya (17-0, 6-0 in UFC) is the current interim Middleweight champion after defeating Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in one of 2019’s most thrilling fights thus far. While Adesanya was born in Nigeria, he has resided in New Zealand for much of his life and thus considers himself a true Kiwi.

Adesanya enjoyed a successful kickboxing career before making the transition to mma, going 75-5-1 in the sport while also winning multiple titles such as the King in the Ring Cruiserweight and Heavyweight titles as well as the Glory Middleweight contender tournament championship. Adesanya is undefeated in mma at 17-0 with 13 of those wins coming by way of knockout or TKO.

UFC 243 takes place at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia on October 6 and will air live on pay per view.

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Nick Peralta

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