Generally, when an interim champion is crowned, we know exactly what fight will be next for them. That, of course, is none other than the undisputed champion.
When “The Last Stylebender” Israel Adesanya (17-0) defeated Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in a fight of the year candidate, he became the new UFC interim middleweight champion. Thus making an encounter with the undisputed champ, Robert Whittaker (20-4), inevitable.
As the pairing of the two makes for the biggest fight in Australia/New Zealand MMA history, it was a must that they would meet “down under.” The wheels on that idea are now looking to be in motion.
MMA DNA has reported that UFC 243 is set to take place in Sydney, Australia at the Bankwest Stadium on October 6 (local time). In addition, the middleweight title unification bout is also in the works to headline the event. The Bankwest Stadium has a total capacity of 30,000.
For the reigning champion in Whittaker, the bout would act as his first official title defense after defeating Yoel Romero for the second time at UFC 225 via split decision. Romero would miss weight, therefore, making it a non-title bout. The last time that Whittaker fought someone besides “The Soldier of God” was in April 2017 when he put on an incredible performance to take out Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the second round of their UFC on Fox clash.
Since Whittaker’s last bout, Adesanya has fought four times earning wins over the likes of Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, Anderson Silva, and the aforementioned Gastelum. Three of those bouts went to Adesanya via unanimous decision. Adesanya also wound up earning performance/fight of the night bonuses for all four of those bouts.
For a big venue like the Bankwest Stadium, it will be interesting to see how the UFC goes ahead and stack the massive ANZAC card.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/29/2019