There will be one undisputed middleweight champion at the conclusion of UFC 243 when 185-pound titlist Robert Whittaker battles interim champion Israel Adesanya at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Whittaker (21-4) last competed at UFC 225 in June of 2018 when he defeated Yoel Romero by split decision. He was set to return to fight at UFC 234 to defend his title in Australia against Kelvin Gastelum. Unfortunately, Whittaker was forced out of the fight just hours before his title defense was set to take place as he had to have dual surgery to repair an abdominal hernia of the intestine and a twisted and collapsed bowel.
Enter “The Last Style Bender.” When Whittaker had to bow out of UFC 234, Adesanya’s (17-0) match against the legendary Anderson Silva got bumped up to the main event. The dynamic striker won by unanimous decision.
He didn’t stay out of the Octagon long — the UFC put him in an interim title fight against Gastelum at UFC 236. In one of the best fights of 2019, Adesanya and Gastelum went toe-to-toe for 25 minutes, leaving their blood, sweat and tears in the cage. But there had to be a winner, and that was Adesanya by unanimous decision, earning him his first UFC belt and a clash against the reigning champion.
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