In the main event of UFC 243, Israel Adesanya defeated Robert Whitaker and became the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. Adesanya, who has been a part of UFC for just 18 months, became one of the top fighters in this organization following this match.
At the overcrowded Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, the native Nigerian who fights under the flag of New Zealand, knocked out his opponent after 3:33 minutes of the second round, with a heavy combination of left and right hooks. It was his fifth finish over the last seven battles, but without a doubt this was the most important one.
Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) said after the match that his team made perfect tactics for this match and that everything they planned happened in the octagon. They predicted all the moves of his rival, which is why he came out victorious in the end.
“He threw everything we expected. We had everything planned from Plan A to Z,” Adesanya said. “It‘s unreal. They said I have no knockout power.”
Israel Adesanya is the UFC Middleweight champion! He’s knocked out Aussie Robert Whittaker in the 2nd Round! 😱 #UFC243
— TAB (@tabcomau) October 6, 2019
The first round, as well as the entire match, was very interesting, and saw both fighters having their moments of domination. Whittaker (20-5 MMA, 11-3 UFC) knew that he had to come in and get closer to Adesanya, which is why he had several fast and explosive attacks when he tried to hurt his opponent. He did throw a few powerfull punches, but couldn’t damage Adesanya.
Yet, as the match went by, the Nigerian native began distancing himself from the 28-year old, and using his reach. He would even send Whittaker down on the canvas at the end of the first, with the right-hand smash to the haw. However, the end of the round saved the Australian.
The second round had a similar scenario, with Whittaker trying to get that one punch which would shake Adesanya and turn the tide into his favor. And for one moment it seemed that it would be like that, when he blitzed Adesanya and had one hard straight hit to his head. But then came the counter-attack of the new unified champ, who first landed a right hook at first, and then the left to the jaw, which knocked out Whittaker.
“He caught me with a nice one, but I returned,” Adesanya said. “I eat it, but give it back two times. That’s a two-piece right there. I can take it and give it back.”
Whittaker accepted a defeat, saying that his opponent simply deserved to win and that he used the slightest room for making the edge.
“My hat is off to Adesanya,” the no-nonsense Whitaker said. “He’s very strong, I thought I was doing well and then I got caught. … I didn’t get the ‘W’ today, but I’m not going anywhere.”
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 6, 2019
It was his first loss wince 2014, when Stephen Thompson defeated him. Though over the past two years, he had just two fights against Yoel Romero, which he won both by a decision, once unanimous and the second time via split.
Adesanya already has a plan who is going to be his next opponent – Paulo Costa. He called out the Brazilian right after the match, and didn’t have any nice words for him.
“You know who’s next,” Adesanya said. “I have a heavy Ricky Martin wannabe next. Borrachinha. This is my octagon. I’m going to smash him. I want to rearrange his face.”
In other fights Dan Hooker defeated Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision, Serghei Soicac beat Tau Tuivasa by an arm-triangle choke, and Dhiego Lima recorded a win over Luke Jumeau via split decision.
Following a win, Hooker (19-8 MMA, 9-4 UFC) threatened Dustin Poirier, calling out the former lightweight champion.
“Dustin Poirier, I’m going to smash your face in,” Hooker said.
The interesting fact about this event was that it became the one with the highest-ever crowd. Marvel Stadium saw 57,127 fans and an income from the gates of $5,478,345.