UFC 243 Report: Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya in Melbourne

John Pollock's fight night coverage of UFC 243 from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia featuring Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight championship.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of UFC 243 from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

Phil Chertok and I will be doing our UFC 243 POST Show later tonight on the free feed with a complete review of the show along with news & notes.

RESULTS:
*Khalid Taha def. Bruno Silva by arm-triangle choke at 3:00 of Round 3
*Ji Yeon Kim def. Nadia Kassem by TKO at 4:59 of Round 2
*Megan Anderson def. Zarah Fairn by triangle submission at 3:57 of Round 1
*Brad Riddell def. Jamie Mullarkey by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
*Callan Potter def. Maki Pitolo by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Jake Matthews def. Rostem Akman by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Yorgan De Castro def. Justin Tafa by KO at 2:10 of Round 1
*Dhiego Lima def. Luke Jumeau by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Sergey Spivak def. Tai Tuivasa by arm-triangle at 3:14 of Round 2
*Dan Hooker def. Al Iaquinta by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
*Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker by KO at 3:33 of Round 2 to become the UFC middleweight champion

KHALID TAHA (13-2, 137*) VS BRUNO SILVA (11-3-1, 136) – BANTAMWEIGHT

Taha rocked Silva with a left hook in the first round that put him down. Later in the round, Silva hit him low twice but there was no point deduction. Silva got the takedown in round two and controlled the action on top with the fight even heading the third round. Taha overcame an early takedown and got Silva’s back and attacked with elbows to the side of the head, and his ground and pound set up the fight-ending arm triangle submission.

WINNER: Khalid Taha by arm-triangle at 3:00 of Round 3

Taha missed weight by one pound and lost 20% of his purse the day prior. It is his second win inside the UFC and showed good instincts in the final moments when utilizing his strikes to set up the submission.

NADIA KASSEM (5-1, 126) VS JI YEON KIM (8-2-2, 128*) – FLYWEIGHT

Kim missed weight for her second fight in a row, so this might not be the weight class for her.

Kassem didn’t touch gloves and charged in and got dropped with a left hook immediately. Kassem recovered utilizing overhooks to take Kim down. Kim got to her feet and this was a closer round but Kim’s striking gave her the edge.

Kim was using jabs and working in the clinch to start the round. Kim started to land, Kassem’s mouthpiece fell out and Kim was unloading when the referee stepped in to re-insert the mouthpiece and was bad timing given Kim’s momentum. Kim took over landing big strikes and it was a pair of shots to the body that was key as the last one dropped Kassem and ended the fight with one second remaining in the round.

WINNER: Ji Yeon Kim by TKO at 4:59 of Round 2

Kim’s striking was effective and wore out Kassem, but it’s an issue that she has missed weight twice in a row. She was well on her way to a 10-8 round if she had not stopped Kassem. Kim improves to 3-2 in the UFC and was coming off a loss to Antonina Shevchenko.

MEGAN ANDERSON (8-4, 146) VS ZARAH FAIRN DOS SANTOS (6-2, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Fairn charged at her aggressively and they clinched leading to Anderson taking her down and getting the mount. Anderson attacked with elbows before Fairn reversed out of the mount to get on top but was caught with a triangle. Anderson flipped her to the side and tapped her out.

WINNER: Megan Anderson by triangle submission at 3:57 of Round 1

Anderson rebounded from her upset loss to Felicia Spencer this past May with her first submission win since 2014 and improves to 2-2 inside the UFC. It’s a big win for Anderson is the extremely thin women’s featherweight division. Anderson was in tears from the victory and being back in her home country.

JAMIE MULLARKEY (12-2, 156) VS BRAD RIDDELL (6-1, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT

This was a war with one of the craziest rounds this year in Round 3.

Riddell won the first two rounds through the combinations he was finishing, heavy kicks, and mounted him in the second round.

In the third, Riddell rocked him with a right hand and they got into a wild exchange with each landing huge shots. Mullarkey nailed him with a left hook that was his best strike of the fight. Mullarkey tried to get a rear-naked choke and was unsuccessful. Mullarkey was spent and lost his mouthpiece twice from strikes. Riddell destroyed him with massive strikes and it felt it went too long. It was an easy 10-8 round for Riddell.

WINNER: Brad Riddell by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)

Riddell won his UFC debut and if this doesn’t win “Fight of the Night” then we are going to see an incredible fight later on. This was crazy and Mullarkey somehow survived the third round.

CALLAN PORTER (17-8, 171) VS MAKI PITOLO (12-4, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT

This was another insane fight with the two refusing to play defense in the opening round. Potter had lots of success with his left hooks and the two started going Frye/Takayama in the opening round with no regard for head movement and each ate tons of shots. Potter slammed Pitolo to the ground, they got up and had another wild exchange. In the second round, Pitolo was showing more technique, they separated off the fence and Potter started to unload on Pitolo. Pitolo hit a right uppercut but absorbed a counter at the end. In the final round, Potter took him down and worked to the mount and controlled Pitolo for the final five minutes in a one-sided round.

WINNER: Callan Potter by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

I was surprised Pitolo got one round by each of the judges and none of them went 10-8 on the final round. The third round didn’t feature a lot of damage but it was dominant control from Porter for the full five minutes. Porter was a +275 underdog on the card and earned his first UFC win after losing in his debut to Jalin Turner this past February.

JAKE MATTHEWS (14-4, 171) VS ROSTEM AKMAN (6-1, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

In the first round, Mattews was tentative while Akman was throwing but landed very little. Matthews started landing isolated strikes as he started to increase his output and took the first round. Matthews displayed more output in the second round with inside leg kicks, and landed a counter right and pressed forward to end the round. He was up 20-18 after two rounds. In the third, it continued with Matthews using the leg kicks and connected with a knee to the body and right hand. He greatly out-landed Akman in every round, but it was especially noticeable in the third round. It was an easy 30-27 win for Matthews.

WINNER: Jake Matthews by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Since moving up to welterweight, Matthews is 4-1 at the higher weight and bounced back from a loss to Anthony Rocco Martin last December. He acknowledged it wasn’t a great fight but he clearly won every minute of the fight.

JUSTIN TAFA (3-0, 265) VS YORGAN DE CASTRO (5-0, 265) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Tafa stunned him early but De Castro absorbed it. Tafa charged at him and ran into a right hook and it was a walk-off knockout by De Castro that looked brutal.

WINNER: Yorgan De Castro by KO at 2:10 of Round 1 

It was a stunning knockout and one of the most impressive of 2019. De Castro has only been fighting pro since November 2017 and entered the UFC after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series this past June.

LUKE JUMEAU (13-4, 171) VS DHIEGO LIMA (14-7, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT

This was not a great fight and dragged over the course of three rounds. Lima’s victory was ensured through his use of low leg kicks that lit up Jumeau’s leg. Down by two rounds, Jumeau landed a solid combination but ate a counter in exchange. I had it 30-27 for Lima after three rounds and was stunned any judges scored it for Jumeau much less Lima not winning all three rounds.

WINNER: Dhiego Lima by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

It was Lima’s third straight win after stopping Chad Laprise and earning a split decision over Court McGee in his last two outings. Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier were stunned it was a split decision but at least the right fighter won.

TAI TUIVASA (10-2, 264) VS SERGEY SPIVAC (9-1, 233) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Spivak was immediately hit with a big leg kick that knocked him off balance. From there, Spivak took over the fight by opting to wrestle instead of trying to strike with the hard-hitting Tuivasa. Spivak would proceed to finish five takedowns to take the opening round. He started the second round with more takedowns and then, he mounted Tuivasa, who was tired. Spivak moved to the arm-triangle and got the submission.

WINNER: Sergey Spivak by arm-triangle submission at 3:14 of Round 2 

It was Spivak’s first UFC win after losing his debut to Walt Harris earlier this year. Tuivasa is a fun personality with lots of power but his holes are very evident and he was prone to the takedown every time Spivak shot in. It was Tuivasa’s third straight loss following fights with Junior dos Santos and Blagoy Ivanov in his last two outings.

AL IAQUINTA (14-5-1, 155) VS DAN HOOKER (18-8, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Hooker was composed in the first round, standing with Iaquinta and attacking his low leg with kicks. Iaquinta shot for a single-leg but that proved ineffective because it allowed Hooker to drill him with elbows to the side of the head. Hooker then transitioned to mount and got Iaquinta’s back and threatened with a choke. Iaquinta escaped but it was a clear round for Hooker.

Iaquinta had a much better second round and was cutting the distance to try and land. He hit two right hands on Hooker but then got dropped near the end of the round with a right hook from Hooker. Hooker ended the round on top with ground and pound and probably took the round and is up 20-18.

Iaquinta was urgent and pressed forward but it only opened himself up to Hooker’s jabs and he roughed Iaquinta up with them. Iaquinta’s nose was busted open and was getting outstruck by a wide margin. This was a tremendous fight and strategy for Hooker, who has the fight 30-27 on my card.

WINNER: Dan Hooker by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Hooker is now 6-1 at lightweight in the UFC and called out Dustin Poirier to fight next in 2020 and said he would end him. This was a huge night for Hooker and making becoming a top lightweight near the top of the division.

ROBERT WHITTAKER (20-4, 185) VS ISRAEL ADESANYA (17-0, 184) – UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE

Adesanya’s walkout was legendary, this guy is a superstar.

Whittaker came out in the first attempting to land from various angles and mixed in leg kicks. Adesanya came back using jabs and then dropped Whittaker with a left hand as the horn sounded to end the first round.

Whittaker was using jabs in the second round as he charged in with more strikes but was prone to Adesanya’s counters. Adesanya ate a left hand and then connected with a right counter and a huge counter left to drop Whittaker and leaped on top for the finish.

WINNER: Israel Adesanya by KO at 3:33 of Round 2

Adesanya had a great post-fight speech and said Paulo Costa was next.

Whittaker congratulated Adesanya but is only 28 years old and will see him again. He insisted he isn’t going anywhere and was very gracious in defeat.

About John Pollock 1207 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.