Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya set for title unifier at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium (1 Viewer)

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Dana White intrigued by potential Jon Jones vs. Israel Adesanya matchup
Add UFC president Dana White to the list of people who are intrigued by a future dream matchup between light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Since April, a back-and-forth — through the media and online — between Jones and Adesanya has been ongoing. With all of the words spouted off by both champions, White was asked by TMZ Sports if he would be interested in the potential showdown. Of course, that’s if “The Last Stylebender” can get through his next test in October.

“I do (have interest in that fight),” White said. “But Israel needs to focus on (Robert Whittaker). He’s fighting a bad dude. He needs to worry about that fight.


“If he beats Robert Whittaker, he’s a very, very dangerous guy and a guy Jones needs to take serious.”

Whittaker and Adesanya will headline UFC 243 Oct. 6, although the venue has not been locked down as of yet. The fight will either take place in Australia, which makes the most sense since both are from that part of the world, or the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

After a 5-0 start to his UFC career, Adesanya took on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title in the co-main event of April’s UFC 236 event. In a definite “Fight of the Year” contender, Adesanya would come away victorious via unanimous decision to capture his first world title in the UFC.

Jones competed earlier this month when he defended the light heavyweight title against Thiago Santos in the main event of UFC 239. Although Jones showed an incredible chin in that fight, many feel that Jones’ performance was a step down from what we’ve seen from him over the years. Jones fought a calculated, strategic fight en route to a close, split decision victory to retain his title.
 

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Dana White: Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya 'going to be the biggest fight in Australian history'
After the official announcement that UFC 243 is set to take place in Australia, UFC president Dana White believes it’ll be the biggest fight to ever take place Down Under.

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) takes on interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) in the event’s headliner, at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne. The pay-per-view event takes place locally on Sunday, Oct. 6, but airs in North America on Oct. 5 due to the time change.

Speaking on Wednesday to MMA Junkie and other reporters, White said he thinks the fight will be the biggest in Australian history, garnering the interest of fans worldwide, and he believes the event will bring a UFC record for a live audience.

“I think we sell it out at 60,000,” White said. “It’s going to be the biggest fight in Australian history, period. Any fight they’ve ever done there, this is going to be the biggest fight ever. This fight is global.

“When they did big fights in Australia, whether it was a boxing match or whatever, even if all of Australia was engaged, the rest of the world wasn’t. You have the Middle East, you got Europe, you have Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, all these countries are going to be interested in this fight. I don’t think there’s ever been a fight since Kostya Tszyu or something, where there was a fight where the rest of the world was interested.”

While the UFC expects to announce a robust lineup of fan-friendly bouts to fill the card, White believes the interest in the headliner, alone, guarantees it will be a special event.

“If I was Vince McMahon writing scripts, you couldn’t write a better script than this,” White said. You have the champion who’s from Australia, and then you have the interim champion – it just couldn’t be better.”
 

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Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima added to UFC 243 in Melbourne

Another New Zealander is headed to UFC 234 in Australia.

Kiwi Luke Jumeau returns to the octagon and will take on Dhiego Lima in a welterweight bout at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

MMA Junkie verified the matchup with a person with knowledge of the booking following an initial report from ESPN. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

UFC 243 takes place Oct. 6. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass. Due to the time change, the card airs in North America on Oct. 5.

Jumeau (13-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) last competed at UFC 221 in Perth, when he defeated Daiche Abe via unanimous decision. He will look to string together consecutive victories for the first time since joining the UFC.

Lima (14-7 MMA, 3-5 UFC) is currently enjoying his best UFC run. He got a second opportunity in the UFC after participating in “The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption” season and making it all the way to the finals. He ended up losing the show to Jesse Taylor, and then dropped his next fight to Yushin Okami.

With his back against the wall, he was able to rebound beautifully with a first-round nockout over Chad Laprise, followed by a unanimous decision over Court McGee. He will try to continue and make good on his second stint in the UFC when he heads Down Under.
The latest UFC 243 card now includes:
  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Interim champ Israel Adesanya – for middleweight title
  • Yorgan De Castro vs. Justin Tafa
  • Sergey Spivak vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
  • Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
  • Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima

Megan Anderson meets newcomer Zarah Fairn Dos Santos at UFC 243

A women’s featherweight bout between Megan Anderson and Zarah Fairn dos Santos is the latest addition to October’s UFC 243 lineup.

MMA Junkie verified the booking between Anderson (9-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Dos Santos (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) with a person close to the situation. The person requested anonymity because the UFC has yet to make an official announcement.

UFC 243 takes place Oct. 6 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+/UFC Fight Pass. Due to the time change, the card airs in North America on Oct. 5.

Anderson, No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie MMA women’s featherweight rankings, will attempt to rebound from the most decisive loss of her career on home soil. The Australian wassubmitted in the first round by Felicia Spencer at UFC on ESPN+ 10 in May, marking her first stoppage loss in nearly four years.

No. 15-ranked Dos Santos, meanwhile, will debut as the first female UFC athlete from France. The 32-year-old hasn’t compete since December 2017, but will carry a three-fight winning streak into her octagon debut. Moreover, she’s earned all of her career stoppage victories by knockout.
 

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Adesanya on Jones’ offer to help Whittaker prepare for UFC 243: ‘Look at Jon Jones’ striking. Don’t even insult me.’

“Let him,” Adesanya exclaimed, when asked about Jon Jones’ offer to help prep Whittaker for the ‘Last Stylebender.’ “F-ck, this is what I mean. Get f-cking ISIS. Bring whoever has to help you get ready for this fight, cause they can’t save you. No one can save you.”

“If he thinks Jon Jones is gonna help him—look at Jon Jones’ striking. Don’t even insult me. Come on, man. Wrestling, yes. Get Jon Jones to help you with your wrestling.

“F-cking, Rob, shoot on me,” he continued. “Please, come on. No one’s got me down and kept me down. You’ve done it to Romero, you might be the one. I advise him to shoot on me. Try to keep me down. If not, strike with me. Do your little one-one, two, and then throw your right high kick. Do your little oblique kick. F-cking hell. What else? He’s good with the left hook, and that’s one thing, no one’s ever… ah f-ck it, no one ever makes him check the left hook. No one ever makes him check. I’ll give him the blueprint and I’ll still whoop his ass. No one ever makes him respect the left hook like that. No one ever makes him hesitate with the left hook. F-cking hell. Just, I advise him to shoot. I won’t Jorge Masvidal him, but I advise him to shoot. Straight up shoot, then wrestle f-ck me.”

And while he’s clearly working to get fans engaged in their upcoming PPV, Adesanya admitted that he’s not all that interested in the idea of getting under Whittaker’s skin. As far as he’s concerned, he’s just stating facts.

“I’m not trying to get under his skin,’ Adesanya said. “That’s another narrative that’s false. I’m not trying to get under his skin, I’m just stating facts. I’m just stating facts. And he’s backtracked in person, ‘I’m sorry.’ Well, don’t be sorry, just make better memes at least so they can be funny. But yeah, the only thing I saw when I stared him down, like, no one else knows – everyone else just looks from the outside in – but you’re not standing in front of him, looking in his eyes. And I said it, I’ve seen it, he’s not a guy that’s scared. I’m not a guy that’s scared. Yeah, he means business, and so do I. If he doesn’t want to sell the fight, cool, don’t sell the fight. The fight’s already sold itself. I just happen to talk a lot, and I just happen to fucking have bars to sell the fight. So yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome.”

“Nah, Rob’s not the kind of guy that I don’t think… like I said, he’s a mute, he’s a bit of a knuckle-dragger. He’s a throwback, just meats and potatoes, ‘Oh, I do my talking in the cage’. You know that line? ‘I do my talking in the cage’ . And so do I, I’m multifaceted. I don’t think, if you get in his head or not, I don’t think it makes a difference. At the end of the day, skills pays the bills. I mean, check my resume. Come on, man, check my resume. You see the skills are heavily there.”
 

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Israel Adesanya signs with Paradigm Sports Management ahead of UFC 243 title fight

Ahead of the biggest fight of his MMA career, Israel Adesanya has a new management team.

The UFC’s interim middleweight champion has signed with Paradigm Sports Management, the company announced Monday.

Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is set to headline UFC 243 on Oct. 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, against middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) in a title unification bout. It is being dubbed as the biggest fight in Australia’s history.

Adesanya joins the likes of Conor McGregor, Cris Cyborg, Leon Edwards and Michael “Venom” Page as top talent signed to Paradigm.

“After having a great relationship with Israel and team for some time, we are excited to welcome him to the Paradigm family,” stated Tim Simpson, head of Paradigm’s MMA division. “Israel is recognized worldwide as one of the brightest prospects in all of sports, and his athletic achievements thus far speak for themselves.

“We are eager to get to work with Israel in all facets of his business, alongside his existing team in Eugene Bareman from City Kickboxing, and Ash Belcastro from Engage. Israel is an incredible personality and an even better athlete, and we look forward to more big fights and success in all aspects of his career going forward, beginning on October 5 at UFC 243.”

After winning the first 11 fights of his MMA career by stoppage, Adesanya, from New Zealand, is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC and has post-fight bonuses in five of those six wins. Four of his UFC wins have gone the distance, including victories over former longtime middleweight champ Anderson Silva in February and Kelvin Gastelum in April for the interim belt.
 

rivethead

Neg'd 4 Lyfe
I don’t think Whitaker needs Jones’ help, and it should kind of insulting to say he does.

But didn’t Jones have nothing but nice things to say to Adesanya until he started on JJ?
I think it's all kayfabe, hyping for a potential superfight.

I agree about Adesanya not being as vocal before--although he wasn't on my radar till a year or so ago, that UFN card with Poirier and the Justin guy whose name I am genetically incapable of spelling, where he reminded me of jones because of eyepokes. I forget the guy he beat, but I thought he looked beatable and weak off his back.

Israel's had a pretty meteoric rise since then, and I think he sees melodrama as the opportunity to get into the mainstream. which is sad, but understandable.

rh
 

Anchorpunch

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I think it's all kayfabe, hyping for a potential superfight.

I agree about Adesanya not being as vocal before--although he wasn't on my radar till a year or so ago, that UFN card with Poirier and the Justin guy whose name I am genetically incapable of spelling, where he reminded me of jones because of eyepokes. I forget the guy he beat, but I thought he looked beatable and weak off his back.

Israel's had a pretty meteoric rise since then, and I think he sees melodrama as the opportunity to get into the mainstream. which is sad, but understandable.

rh
Israel talked some shit about Jones, saying he'll go up eventually to beat him (blah blah blah, eating goat since he was a kid, blah blah why do we not talk about how gross his post-fight rape jokes are?). That's where it started so I don't think that it's kayfabe.
 

rivethead

Neg'd 4 Lyfe
Israel talked some shit about Jones, saying he'll go up eventually to beat him (blah blah blah, eating goat since he was a kid, blah blah why do we not talk about how gross his post-fight rape jokes are?). That's where it started so I don't think that it's kayfabe.
I'm a cynic.

I don't know if it would be better if you were right and I was wrong, or vice versa.

rh
 

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Robert Whittaker predicts he'll finish Israel Adesanya 'somewhere in the second, third round'

Robert Whittaker saw something in Israel Adesanya’s last fight, which makes him believe that he’ll put “The Last “Stylebender” away at UFC 243.

Speaking to Triple M, champion Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) said that after watching Adesanya’s war with Kelvin Gastelum earlier this year at UFC 236, where he captured the interim middleweight title, he is confident he will finish the fight.

“That’s the biggest thing I took away from that fight,” Whittaker said. “If Gastelum can puts hands on him, I can puts hands on him. Honestly, I think I’m going to finish him. I’m definitely going to look for the finish, but I think I’m going to finish him somewhere in the second, third round.”

There’s been a lot of back-and-forth between Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Whittaker, mostly coming from Adesanya’s side. A couple of news conferences and faceoffs, but Whittaker isn’t phased by any of it.

“It’s kind of another mentality I’ve always had, is I don’t understand why we’re trash talking each other, because literally we’re going to be punishing each other within X-amount of weeks,” Whittaker said. “It’s like there’s no point. Anything you’ve got to say means nothing.”

Whittaker vs. Adesanya is being dubbed as the biggest fight the Oceanic region’s history. According to UFC president Dana White, Marvel Stadium in Melbourne is on track to sell out for their championship showdown at UFC 243, and Whittaker is expected to have the Australian crowd behind him. Although he is a New Zealand-born Australian taking on a Nigerian-born Kiwi, Whittaker isn’t concerned with who New Zealand will be supporting.

He believes the sport wins in the end.

“Who cares?” Whittaker said. “It doesn’t matter, because it’s only going to boost the combat sports game in New Zealand and Australia. At the end of the day, as much as we love the rivalry, we love each other a lot more than everybody else anyway, so this is going to be the biggest combat sports fight in the history of the game in this part of the world, and I’m pumped to be a part of it.”
 

Cat--Smasher

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Maki Pitolo vs. Callan Potter added to UFC 243 in Australia
With the addition to the card, UFC 234 now includes:

  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. interim champ Israel Adesanya – to unify middleweight title
  • Dan Hooker vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
  • Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
  • Rostem Akman vs. Jake Matthews
  • Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
  • Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
  • Sergey Spivak vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Yorgan De Castro vs. Justin Tafa
  • Bruno Silva vs. Khalid Taha
  • Maki Pitolo vs. Callan Potter
 

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UFC champ Robert Whittaker describes dealing with depression before most recent injury

UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker usually lets his actions speak for him.

The hard-hitting Australian never has been particularly boastful and has engaged in minimal trash talk during his UFC tenure. However, ahead of his UFC 243 title defense against Israel Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), Whittaker (20-4 MMA, 11-2 UFC) spoke out about an issue that hits home.

In the weeks leading up to his scheduled UFC 234 headliner, “The Reaper” battled depression. Training sessions became more grueling, and Whittaker began to lose interest in going to the gym.

In an interview with Submission Radio, Whittaker opened up about his daily struggles and how he got through the tough times.

“Depression is real, and it doesn’t matter who you are,” Whittaker said. “You can get depressed, and you can feel like you’re falling down a pit of despair.

“… Coming back from the injury, being behind in terms of the goal setting that I wanted – my markers. I was very behind. Seeing my training partners performing much better than I, it was a hard time to motivate myself, to keep going, to motivate myself to feel good. I was very apathetic and didn’t want to do anything.”

Depression presents itself differently in different people. For Whittaker, a general feeling of fatigue and lack of motivation were the biggest obstacles. He lacked the passion he once had for MMA.

“It’s not like I suddenly felt like picking up a new hobby,” Whittaker said. “It’s not like I suddenly felt like doing a new job. It was more of like, I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to have naps, not leave the house and just do nothing.

“It’s hard. I was demotivated to do anything. And it wasn’t specifically a sport-related thing, it was more everything. I was just tired. I was just tired of it all.”

The struggle became so real that Whittaker said at one point he considered retirement. He knew it was “do or die.” No matter how unmotivated he felt, Whittaker picked himself up and dragged himself to practice.

“Honestly, I just reached a point where I felt that it was either do or die for me,” Whittaker said. “So it was either I had to just start hitting the sessions, I had to get through it, I had to bite down on the mouthguard and just plod along – or not.

“And the alternative would have been to hang up the gloves, call it in. And I wasn’t ready to do that.”

Now Whittaker says he is no longer wrestling with the issue of depression. Somehow, the UFC champion overcame his mental health battle. How did Whittaker accomplish that? He’s not entirely sure, but he said his support system played a major role.

“That’s the hardest thing, and there’s no real answer to that,” Whittaker said. “But for myself, what really helped me is obviously the people that surrounded me. … And just knowing that they’re there, and you can talk to them is very important.”

In an effort to help others struggling with depression, Whittaker has announced he will conduct a speaking tour around Australia. The tour will start Nov. 21 in Brisbane and hit 12 locations all over the country, before it concludes in Perth on Dec. 6.

On Oct. 5 at Marvel Stadium, Whittaker will defend his belt against Israel Adesanya in the UFC 243 headliner. Also on the card, Al Iaquinta (14-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Daniel Hooker (18-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) will meet in a 155-pound matchup.
 

Mr. Cornute

Prince of Saiyan...stuff.

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Israel Adesanya teammate Brad Riddell signs with UFC, debuts at UFC 243
Another member of City Kickboxing is UFC bound.

Joining teammates Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France, Shane Young, and Luke Jumeau, Brad Riddell can now call himself a member of the UFC roster.

In a video posted on Facebook (via Engage), Kara-France surprised Riddell (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) with a UFC contract in front of the rest of the gym. Overwhelmed by emotion, Riddell embraced his teammates and coach Eugene Bareman.

While he has competed most recently at 170 pounds, Riddell told New Zealand Herald he will be moving down to lightweight for his debut at UFC 243.

Nicknamed “Quake,” Riddell has compiled five finishes by TKO/KO in his MMA career to date. The 27-year-old fighter is currently riding a three-fight win streak.
 

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