UFC Middleweight Championship: Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya Adesanya via KO (punch) - Round 2
Al Iaquinta v Dan Hooker
Hooker via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-26)
Tai Tuivasa v Serghei Spivac
Spivac via submission (arm-triangle) - Round 2
Luke Jumeau v Dhiego Lima
Lima via split decision (29-28, 29-28 and 28-29)
Justin Tafa v Yorgan De Castro
De Castro via KO (punch) - Round 1
Jake Matthews v Rostam Akman
Matthews via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 and 30-27)
Callan Potter v Maki Pitolo
Potter via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 29-28)
Brad Riddell v Jamie Mullarkey
Riddell via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 and 30-26)
Megan Anderson v Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
Anderson via submission (triangle) - Round 1
Nadia Kassem v Ji Yeon Kim
Kim via TKO (strikes) - Round 2
Khalid Taha v Bruno Silva
Taha via submission (arm triangle) - Round 3
Middleweight title: Robert Whittaker v Israel Adesanya
Adesanya beats Whittaker vio KO (punches) - Round 2.
Whittaker is 20-4 as a pro and 11-2 in the UFC - undefeated at middleweight and hasn't tasted a loss since 2014 ... but he's fought just once in close to two years.
Adesanya is 17-0 as a pro and 6-0 in the UFC and has 2019 wins over Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum.
Round 1: Whittaker looking for the big shot early ... Izzy staying calm. Jab lands for Rob and he just misses a huge right. Izzy lands a leg kick. Overhand missed by Rob. Jab lands again for Rob but he missed a head kick. Izzy lands a body shot. Izzy cops an eye poke but he's fine. Left hook from Rob but Izzy defends well. Head kick just misses for Izzy and another. Izzy lands a left, Rob misses on a big right. Body shot lands for Izzy. Ron lands a nove right hook in an exchange but Izzy is still there. Whittaker swings and misses and Izzy drops him with a right on the bell. Wow - 10 seconds earlier and he wins the title. Newshub score: Adesanya 10-9.
Round 2: Rob looking to get that one back throws a couple big shots that back Izzy up. Leg kick lands for Izzy followed by a body kick. Izzy hurts Rob with a counter right and follows with a kick. Izzy lands a nice body head combo. Rob with an overhand just misses. Left hook and head kick lands for Rob but Izzy shakes it off. Ron swings but gets caught with a fantastic counter left and Rob is down .... Izzy follows up and referee steps in to stop the fight!! Amazing perfromance from Izzy!
5:21pm - Introductions done and we are set to go!
5:15pm - Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker makes the walk to the cage.
5:10pm - Adesanya will enter the arena first and it was quite the entrance as you can see below.
Lightweight: Al Iaquinta v Dan Hooker
Hooker beats Iaquinta via unanimous decison
5:09pm - Dan Hooker calls his shot.
Hooker is 18-8 as a pro and 8-4 in the UFC ... 5-1 as a lightweight.
Iaquinta is 14-5 as a pro and is 9-4 in the UFC.
Round 1: Here we go! Iaquinta misses with a big overhand. Hooker lands a nice leg kick. Another noce leg kick lands for Dan and he gets Iaquinta's attention with a big right. Iaquinta dropped with a leg kick ... Al catches another one but Dan sprawls and is landing heavy elbows from the top. Al rolls and Dan has the back with the hooks in looking for a choke. Iaquinta manages to scramble back to his feet .... Hooker's leg kicks really doing the business. Iaquinta swings and misses with a right. Hooker staying calm and throws a head kick to finish. He wins that round for sure. Newshub score: Hooker 10-9.
Round 2: Iaquinta busy to start the frame, landing three or four nice shots. Hooker's jab is still there though. Leg kick from Dan lands. Another leg kick lands for Dan, Al wants the fight on the ground but Dan is having none of that. Iaquinta lands a heavy right that hurt Dan .. he shakes it off but that hurt. Hooker lands a left hook and again but Iaquinta replies with a right. Leg kick lands for Dan and Al switches to southpaw in response. Al shoots but Dan reverses and gets the takedown .... Iaquinta switches and looks for the double leg but Hooker switches on him and has Al pressed against the cage. Hooker lands a huge right and Iaquinta is dropped ..... Dan goes in for the kill but Al is super tough and looking to survive. 10 seconds to go and Al rolls for a leg lock but Hooker defends well and gets the round. Newshub score: Hooker 10-9.
Round 3: I got Dan up two rounds. Here we go for the final frame. Hooker lands an overhand right to start ... Al looks worried. Hooker lands a head kick ... partially blocked. Jab is there for Dan ... Al lands a nice right in return. Elbow lands for Hooker that wobbles Iaquinta. Big right from Hooker lands and Al is backing up a bit. Another leg kick lands for Dan. Iaquinta lands a big right but Dan shakes it off. Two minutes on the clock ... Al looking for the big shot. Jab lands for Dan and he follows with a body shot. Al lands a right hand ... Dan is okay. Uppercut missed for Al. Dan lands a straight right. Iaquinta really putting the pace on Dan but the Kiwi staying calm. Big leg kick drops Iaquinta ... he's back up. Iaquinta chasing after Dan but he can't land and that'll be a win for the Hangman. Newshub score: Iaquinta 10-9 but the fight for Hooker 29-28.
4:36pm - Iaquinta has fought the best of the best including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Donald Cerrone and Jorge Masvidal.
4:31pm - Luke Jumeau came up short against Dhiego Lima ... check the fight wrap out here.
Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa v Serghei Spivac
Spivac beats Tuivasa via submission (arm triangle) - Round 2.
'Bam Bam' Tai Tuivasa is 8-2 as a pro, 3-2 in the UFC, dropping his last two.
Spivak is 9-1 as a pro and 0-1 in the Octagon.
4:07pm - Don't blink in this one .... Tuivasa has seven 1st round finishes, Spivac eight.
Round 1: Huge leg kick from Tai drops Spivac and he follows with a hammer fist to the face. Spivac back up. Tai throws a leg kick but Spivac catches and gets a takedown. Tai back up to his feet and the two seperate. Big left from Tai lands as does a right elbow ... Spivac is fine. Spivac up against the cage and Tai lands a couple big shots. Front kick from Tai but Spivac catches again and gets the takedown. Tai does well to get back to his feet .... pressing Spivac, but he gets the judo throw on the Australian and has side control. Spivac looking for a bulldog choke but Tai powers out and they are back up. Spivac not keen on standing and scores another takedown. Round comes to an end with Spivac on top and he will get that round off the back of five takedowns. Newshub score: Spivac 10-9.
Round 2: Spivac shoots and scores another takedown. Tai working to get back to his feet and he does. Spivac has no interest in striking at this point. Tai swings widely but doesn't land. Tai lands a right but Spivac clinches and has control against the cage. They seperate again and Spivac shoots and lands another takedown. Spivac has full mount now and has cut Tai open ... Tai in trouble as Spivac is punishing him with strikes from the top. He rolls for the arm triangle and it's locked in ... Tai is out and the referee calls the fight. Slick finish from Spivac.
Welterweight: Luke Jumeau v Dhiego Lima
Lima beats Jumeau via split decision - wow one judge found two rounds for Luke, but Lima did enough on two scorecards.
Hamilton's Luke Jumeau is 13-4 as a pro and 2-1 inside the UFC.
Lima is 14-7 as a pro with a UFC record of 5-6 but is riding a two-fight win streak.
3:38pm - Jumeau back in the cage for the first time since February 2017.
Round 1: Luke look relaxed ... very relaxed. Luke lands a leg kick. They are testing distance to start. Jumeau lands a second hard leg kick .... Lima replies. Not much landing for either guy ... both cautious. Accidental eye poke from Jumeau and the referee calls a halt to the action. Lima is fine and we resume after a small break. Jumeau with a big right but Lima clocks it ... Lima lands a big leg kick that has Jumeau limping. Jumeau lands a right but Lima shakes it off .... jab lands from Lima. Jumeau walking forward but can't get to the inside and Lima will take that round, but it's close. Newshub score: Lima 10-9.
Round 2: Body kick lands for Jumeau ... he forces the action but can't land. Big leg kick from Lima lands and Jumeau is grounded .... Lima on top now in full guard. Jumeau kicks Lima off and they are back on the feet. Lima catches a body kick and attempts the takedown but Jumeau fights it off ... Lima pressing the Kiwi against the cage whalfway through the frame. Another big leg kick lands for Lima and he follows with a right hook. Lima's reach is proving a tough out for Jumeau. Luke's leg is jacked up ... and Jumeau catches Lima with a right ... he presses but Lima does a great job to clinch and earns a takedown. Lima lands some nice strikes from the top ... the clock winds down and Lima will take that one despite a small period of offence from the Kiwi. Newshub score: Lima 10-9.
Round 3: Lima opens with another leg kick ... they exchange punches and Lima gets the best of it. Jumeau counters a Lima leg kick with a sloppy right .. doesn't land. Nice jab from Lima ... his distance game has been excellent. Luke looks a little lost. Lima lands a heavy overhand right but Jumeau is fine. Jumeau with a big right misses. Lima clinches and is looking for a single leg ... Jumeau defends well but is up against the cage. Two minutes to go and Luke needs to get desperate ... he lands an uppercut but Lima replies with a right that gets Luke's attention. Lima changes levels looking for a takedown but Jumeau's defence is excellent ... Luke throws and misses again. Lima tiring but clock is running on Jumeau. Luke pressing and throwing but not landing. Lima bouncing around confidently as time runs out. Newshub score: Jumeau 10-9 but the fight for Lima 29-28.
Heavyweight: Justin Tafa v Yorgan De Castro
De Castro beats Tafa via KO (punch) - Round 1.
Both Tafa and De Castro are 3-0 professionally - both making their UFC debuts today.
Round 1: Justin Tafa has Kiwi roots ... he was born in West Auckland and has trained at City Kickboxing in the past, and also a former training partner of Mark Hunt.
Tafa lands a huge left to start buy De Castro is fine ... leg kick lands from De Castro. The fighters clinch .... Tafa getting the better of it.
They seperate and Tafa swings widely but gets starched by De Castro with a huge right hand to end the fight. Tafa is out cold. Wow! Tafa is back to his feet thankfully, but that's not a nice way to start your UFC career.
3:06pm - Here we go folks - Over 57,000 in attendance at Marvel Stadium and aleady a great start for the Kiwis with Brad Riddell topping Jamie Mullarkey ... you can read the fight wrap an check the highlights out here.
Welterweight: Jake Matthews v Rostem Akman
Matthews beats Akman via unanimous decision
Matthews is 14-4 as a pro and 7-4 inside the UFC.
Akman is 6-1 as a pro and 0-1 in the UFC.
Round 1: Matthews opens up with a couple of powerful leg kicks. Akman lands a stiff counter right off the back of a Matthews front kick. Slow pace to this one. Nice double left hook from Matthews .. pretty sure he clipped Akman there. Matthews lands an overhand right but Akman replies with one himself. Body punch lands for Matthews who is pressing the pace and as the round closes out I gotta give him the plums. Newshub score: Matthews 10-9.
Round 2: Matthews lands the best punch of the fight, flush on the chin of Akman that gets his attention. Akman lands a nice counter left but Matthews shakes it off. This fight feels like a sparring session. Head kick from Matthews is parried by Akman. Akman trying to press but he's not throwing anything. Matthews loads up with the left hook but can't connect as Akman clinches and lands a knee to the head but Matthews is fine. Counter right is there for Matthews followed by a leg kick. Round winds down with Matthews throwing a couple wild shots that miss the target. Newshub score: Matthews 10-9.
Round 3: Jab from Matthews lands .... Akman looking fresh though ... probably because he hasn't really done anything. They exchange a couple of wild punches but nothinh connects. Matthews cruising here ... they clinch and Matthews lands an uppercut. Akman lands a nice right but Matthews shakes it off ... the Australian looks for the clinch and gets it. Matthews pressing Akman against the cage. Matthews looking for a takedown but it's not there ... time running down as Akman drops for the guillotine but time is up. Newshub score: Matthews 10-9 and the fight 30-27.
2:36pm - Here is a look backstage at the CKB team during the closing moments of Brad Riddell's fantastic performance, which you can read about here.
Middleweight: Callan Potter v Maki Pitolo
Potter beats Pitolo via unanimous decision
Australian Potter is 17-8 as a pro and 0-1 inside the UFC.
Pitolo makes his Octagon debut this afternoon - his pro record is 11-4.
Round 1: Potter lands a jumping left hook which is countered by a short right from Pitolo. Potter in trouble and Pitolo lands a nice combo ... these two are swinging and Potter hurts Pitolo. Crazy start. Pitolo recovers and presses Potter against the fence and earns a takedown. The two grapple for position and Potter earns top control with a nice escape. Pitolo back up but Potter gets him down with a big slam ... back to the feet and they exchange some heavy shots again. Both landing hard ... the striking defence from these guys is horrific but makes for a fun fight. Round comes to and end with Potter pressing Pitolo against the fence. Newshub score: Potter 10-9.
Round 2: Nice standing exhange to open the round ... less hectic than the opening frame through 90 seconds. Potter looking for the clinch and gets it ... has Pitolo against the cage landing some powder shots ... foot stomp ... ouch. Referee breaks the clinch and we are back to the centre. Potter lands a big right and again they exchange some ugly shots. Both guys landing again but Potter looks to be in better shape. Less action in that round but Potter edged it again. Newshub score: Potter 10-9.
Round 3: Flying knee to open from Pitolo ... Potter walks through it and gets the double leg and earns top control early. Pitolo back up and now he''s looking for the takedown ... presses Potter against the fence but Potter fends him away and they seperate. Potter walking forward ... both guys landing. Potter clinches and lands a judo throw ... lands on top in half guard. Potter has worked to full mount now, dominating Pitolo on top. Lands a couple hammer fists but Pitolo gets back to half guard. Pitolo is out of gas .. Potter having his way with the grappling exchanges in this round. Time running out though in terms of a finish but Potter rides that clock out and will get his first UFC win. Newshub score: Potter 10-8 and the fight 30-26.
2:01pm - Here is a bit of reaction to Brad Riddell's win.
Lightweight: Brad Riddell v Jamie Mullarkey
Riddell beats Mullarkey via unanamious decision
City Kickboxing's Riddell is 6-1 as a pro while Mullarkey is 12-2 ... both fighters making their UFC debut today.
1.30pm - A slight delay in Melbourne after the quick finish in the previous fight ... about five minutes away.
Round 1: Nice jab from Mullarkey to open ... Riddell with a leg kick in reply. Riddell lands a lovely three strike combo .... finishes with a short left uppercut to the body. Mullarkey landing with his jab ... and now he shoots but Riddell sprawls nicely. Mullarkey pushes him against the cage. Overhand from Riddell lands as does a left and then a counter left to the body as the round comes to an end. Super close. Newshub score: Riddell 10-9.
Round 2: Leg kick from Riddell but Mullarkey catches and shoots ... Riddell pops back up but Mullarkey now has the back .. Riddell switches and forces the break. Nice exchange. Body kick from Riddell but again Mullarkey catches and gets the double leg and side control. Riddell gets the switch and he has side control now but Mullarkey is back up and looking for the takedown again. Riddell has a bad cut over his left eye. Riddell breaks free again and lands a nice leg kick. Short left lands for Brad and he nails Mullarkey witha nice one-two. Mullarkey shoots but it's stuffed and Riddell has full mount with a minute on the clock. Riddell looking for the choke from the back but Mullarkey escapes and will end the round on top. Super close again ... could go either way. Newshub score: Riddell 10-9.
Round 3: Riddell lands a one-two to open the round and then a nice knee in the clinch ... Mullarkey counters with a left that lands. Takedown for Brad .. he postures back to his feet and stands the fight back up. Left hook lands from Brad and so does a big right and a body punch lands .. Mullarkey lands a big left hook and Brad is in trouble. Mullarkey looks for the choke but Brad fights it off. Riddell drops Mullarkey with a vicious shot and is looking to finish. Mullarkey back up and Riddell lands again. Mullarkey shoots .... Riddell sprawls and hammers from the top. Stands back up with a minute on the clock. Big right from Riddell lands and a left..Mullarkey swings but falls on his face. Riddell smashing him from side control....and the clock runs down with Riddell landing from side control. Phew that was awesome. Newshub score 10-9 Riddell and the fight 30-27.
Women's featherweight: Megan Anderson v Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
Anderson beats Dos Santos vis submission (triangle) - Round 1.
Anderson is 9-4 as a pro and 1-2 inside the Octagon.
Dos Santos is 6-2 as a pro making her UFC debut today.
Anderson has shared the ring with some high quality fighters including Holly Holm, Cat Zingano and recent title challenger Felicia Spencer and she is a former Invicta FC featherweight champion.
Round 1: Fairn comes out quickly, closing the distance and looking to smash ... Anderson stays calm, gets the clinch and lands a takedown into half guard. Anderson to mount now and she does .... looking for an arm triangle but it's not there. Anderson lands some nice short hammer fists from top. Anderson postures and lands ... Fairn rolls, but Anderson keeps top control. Postures again and lands again. Dominant from the Australian. Fairn shrimps out and gets the switch ... Anderson throws her legs up and has the triangle choke ... it's deep and Fairn taps. Superb work from Anderson ... a first submission win since 2014.
Women's flyweight: Nadia Kassem v Ji Yeon Kim
Kim beats Kassem via TKO (body strikes) - Round 2.
Australian Kassem is 6-1 as a pro and 1-1 in the UFC.
South Korea's Kim is 8-2 as a pro with a UFC record of 2-2.
Round 1: Kim will be heavier .... she missed weight by more than two pounds yesterday. Kassem fakes the glove touch with a side kick and pays for it .. she gets rocked by Kim with a beautiful right hook. Kassem back to her feet. The Australian earns a takedown with a nice judo throw but Kim is back up quickly. They exchange some heavy punches .... Kassem landing more but Kim the cleaner shots. Kassem lands a nice superman / superwoman punch. Weird round ... probably Kassem's with the takedown although she did get dropped. Newshub score: Kassem 10-9.
Round 2: Kim looks bored ... Kassem using her lead leg front kick as a jab. She's landing more but nothing powerful. Kim throwing occasional rights .... but not landing either. Kim lands a heavy right and Kassem's mouthpiece is out and the ref calls a halt to the action! Poor call that. Back underway and Kim hs come alive and finally pressuring Kassem and landing. Nice exchange that Kim wins. Kassem looks outta gas as Kim lands big again with a one-two. Kim stalking and busts Kassem up...Kassem looks done as Kim looks for the finish. Big body shot and Kassem is down and out! It was two body shots actually. Great finish ... dominant end to the fight with just a couple seconds left in the frame.
Bantamweight: Khalid Taha v Bruno Silva
Taha beats Silva via submission (arm triange) - Round 3.
German Taha is 13-2 as a pro and 1-1 inside the Octagon.
Silva is 10-3 as a pro, the Brazilian making his UFC debut today.
Round 1: Taha drops Silva a minute into the fight with a big left hook but the Brazilian is back up quickly and forces the fight against the cage. Silva misses a leg kick and Taha rocks him with a huge power right, but Silva shakes it off. Taha cops a kick to the groin and will take some time to recover. Back underway after a minute or so with 1:13 left on the clock. Silva presses Taha against the cage but then lands a vicious knee to the groin ... you could hear the cup crack. That's not good and Taha is in trouble. Referee doesn't take a point and we are back underway with 29 seconds left in the round. Round ends with Taha against the fence, but he landed enough to win the round for me with the knockdown. Newshub score: Taha 10-9.
Round 2: Taha drops Silva with a heavy right and the Brazilian is in trouble but he is back up. Taha stalking Silva ... looking for the big punch. Silva changes levels and secures a single leg takedown .. nice job and he will go to work from the top. Silva doing a nice job controlling Taha .. he is staying busy with 2:40 left in the round. Silva dominating the grapple game ... landing some decent strikes from full guard. Taha looking to hip escape but Silva is all over that and earns side control. Silva working a front choke with 25 seconds on the clock but Taha fights it off. Silva ends the round with some knees from half guard and will take the round despite the knockdown. Newshub score: Silva 10-9.
Round 3: Taha throws a lleg kick that is caught by Silva who gets another single leg takedown ... Taha fights his way back to his feet quickly. Silva pressing Taha against the cage 90 seconds in. Taha seperates and gets the space he wants and is hunting for the head ... Silva shoots but it's stuffed and Taha is landing some big shots. Taha has the back now .. all over the Brazilian ... Silva rolls to his back and Taha locks in an arm triangle and that is DEEEEEEEEP. Silva taps and the fight is over. Nice finish.
11:59am - Middleweight contender Paulo Costa will be cageside .... Dana White confirmed to Newshub during the week that he will be next for the winner .... and he hates Israel ... so that should be fun if Izzy can get the job done this afternoon.
11:50am - Thankfully we have no breaking news regarding Robert Whittaker's health - he is good to go for later this afternoon.
Welcome to the UFC 243 early prelims!
Here are a couple of photos from my bud Blair Phillips who is in attendance.
In the meantime, check out the latest episode of Fight Club with UFC president Dana White below.
Here is a bit of social media stuff floating around this morning.
Welcome folks to the biggest fight in Australiasian combat sports history.
The UFC middleweight title is on the line inside the Octagon as Kiwi-born Australian Robert Whittaker and Nigerian-born Kiwi Israel Adesanya do battle for the right to be called undisputed.
- 'We'll eventually fight': Jones teases Jon Jones 'super fight'
- Iaquinta out to dominate NZ's Hooker ar UFC 243
- Adesanya's star power 'Conor McGregor-ish' - Dana White
- Whanau and culture: City Kickboxing set to soar at UFC 243
- Adesanya can defend his title in New Zealand, says Dana White
- Adesanya's teammates reveal generous, humble, selfless superstar
Adesanya is riding a wave of momentum having won six fights in 20 months since making his UFC debut in 2017.
He holds marquee wins over Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson and kelvin Gastelum.
Whittaker has fought just once since claiming gold against Yoel Romero in mid-2017 - a rematch 11 months later which he also won. 'The Reaper' has some serious power having finished middleweight contenders Ronaldo Souza and Brunson during a nine-fight win streak dating back to February 2014.
The card is stacked with Kiwi talent with Dan Hooker taking on former lightweight title challenger Al Iaquinta in the co-featured bout.
Hamilton's Luke Jumeau takes on Dhiego Lima at welterweight and Auckland's Brad Riddell makes his UFC debut against Australian Jamie Mullarkey.
NZ TAB betting odds
Israel Adesanya $1.85 Robert Whittaker $1.87
Dan Hooker $1.63 Al Iaquinta $2.18
Dhiego Lima $1.85 Luke Jumeau $2.15
Brad Riddell $1.58 Jamie Mullarkey $2.27
UFC Middleweight Championship: Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya (ic)
Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker
Tai Tuivasa vs. Serghei Spivac
Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro
Jake Matthews vs. Rostam Akman
Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo
Brad Riddell vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Khalid Taha vs Bruno Silva