The UFC heads back to Melbourne, Australia, this weekend with a pay-per-view event that is expected to fill up the 50,000+ capacity Marvel Stadium.
The headline bout of the day is Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya for the UFC Middleweight Championship and that bout is expected to be nothing short of incredible. Unfortunately for those fans attending UFC 243, Whittaker vs. Adesanya is the only bout of any real significance this weekend.
Before all of the fights get underway at UFC 243 in Melbourne, make sure to read all of the best odds below, as well as our detailed breakdown and prediction ahead of the main event title fight.
UFC 243 – Best Odds
- Robert Whittaker (+103) vs. Israel Adesanya (-116)
- Al Iaquinta (+145) vs. Dan Hooker (-165)
- Sergey Spivak (+320) vs. Tai Tuivasa (-390)
- Dhiego Lima (-150) vs. Luke Jumeau (+130)
- Justin Tafa (-125) vs. Yorgan De Castro (+105)
- Jake Matthews (-280) vs. Rostem Akman (+240)
- Callan Potter (+255) vs. Maki Pitolo (-310)
- Megan Anderson (-500) vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos (+400)
- Brad Riddell (-150) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (+130)
- Ji Yeon Kim (-170) vs. Nadia Kassem (+150)
- Bruno Silva (+200) vs. Khalid Taha (-240)
Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya
Robert Whittaker is a rare example of a champion who is considerably underrated by the public. Not known to be flashy or one to steal the spotlight from others, Whittaker does his job and does it well. In recent years, that job has been defeating many of the best middleweight fighters that the UFC has to offer.
The greatest credit to Whittaker is that he’s now spent 10 rounds and a total of 50 minutes fighting against the human brick wall that is Yoel Romero. And after those two bouts with the “Soldier of God,” Whittaker came out on top on both occasions. The Australian middleweight champion will now enter the cage for the first time since June 2018 when he goes toe-to-toe with Israel Adesanya in Melbourne.
Adesanya’s rise to the top has been unlike others in the sport of mixed martial arts. After racking up a total of 75 wins in kickboxing, Adesanya eventually made his move to the UFC only when he felt he had rounded out his game well enough to compete with the best mixed martial artists in the world. His kickboxing ability would certainly have been enough to carry him in fights that solely remain standing, but Adesanya required an improved defensive wrestling game in order to keep the fight where he wanted it. So far, that’s been the case.
With six wins under the UFC banner since joining in February last year, Adesanya has already claimed the interim UFC Middleweight Championship and will get his chance to unify it against Whittaker at UFC 243.
The below betting odds are a testament to how genuinely competitive this fight is:
Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya Odds
This fight has been billed as the greatest fight in Oceanic history, but there’s every chance that this turns out to be one of the very best fights of all time.
Both fighters are coming off of fantastic, entertaining bouts with tough opponents in the middleweight division. For Whittaker, he endured the remarkably strong Yoel Romero and battled through significant injuries in both fights to have his hand raised and walk away from both remaining as the UFC middleweight champion. And for Adesanya, he was tested by Kelvin Gastelum in a similarily competitive five-round bout earlier this year.
One interesting takeaway from both of these fights is that Whittaker and Adesanya struggled with their respective opponents, yet at UFC 243 they will be faced with a much tougher challenge.
At UFC 225 in June last year, Whittaker was caught in rounds three and five by Romero’s powerful punches. Despite being rocked on multiple occasions in the 25-minute fight, Whittaker maintained his composure and found a way to win.
That composure is an aspect of Whittaker’s game that needs to be considered before facing Adesanya. As a striker, Whittaker is cool, calm, and collected, and will open up the guard of his opponent with his ability to jab from a variety of different angles. Once the opponent begins respecting the jab and deflecting the shots off their forearms, Whittaker starts to come around the sides with looping hooks or even high kicks.
It remains to be seen how his striking will fare against the expert kickboxer that Israel Adesanya is. Adesanya is fluid and flashy, using feints and other set-ups to create striking opportunities. Adesanya uses combinations extremely well and can often be seen working the head before moving to the body or even mixing kicks and punches together seamlessly.
Conversations regarding how to defeat Adesanya have mostly revolved around needing a takedown and top control as this not only negates Adesanya’s striking advantages but leaves to a clear pathway to victory on the mat. But Gastelum completed just one of nine takedown attempts against Adesanya in their last bout, as Adesanya showcased great defensive wrestling ability. It’s now at the point where Adesanya has been daring Whittaker to try and take him down.
It’s likely that Whittaker won’t require a takedown to defeat Adesanya at UFC 243, though, if Adesanya’s last bout with Gastelum is any indication. Adesanya proved to be extremely vulnerable at close range as Gastelum crushed him with heavy punches inside the pocket for the duration of the bout. Adesanya shined when at a safe distance, but it was Gastelum doing the better work on the inside.
And if Adesanya struggled to defend against Gastelum’s inside boxing, he’s likely to have a world of troubles going up against Whittaker this weekend.
We’ll be making a play on Whittaker now that the odds have tightened up significantly.
Bet on Robert Whittaker to win: +103 at SportBet