The UFC heads down under once again this time taking over the Marvel Stadium (yes that Marvel) in Melbourne. A solid card which sees the return of champion Robert Whittaker take on rapidly rising star and fellow New Zealander Israel Adesanya.
Main Card (BT Sport Box Office)
Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya (ic) (Middleweight)
Whittaker has been out for over a year now and it will great to see him back in the Octagon. Only problem for Whittaker is that whilst he has been recovering from injury, a young kick boxing specialist, has been making a name for himself in the middleweight division. Unfortunatley for him, thats the guy he's up against. Whittaker is real fighter with a never give up attitude. Some of his fights have been like a Rocky film, he really is hard as nails. Many would have said Adesanya is too in expereinced to be fighting for the title, but his last bout with Kelvin Gastellum changed that. The Nigerian-New Zealander has shown he has all the skills to be a bonifde champion, and will take home the belt here.
Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker (Lightweight)
Great match up and a real tough one to call. Had this not been on Hookers playing field it might have made our decision a lot easier. We've gone back and forth here but ultimately, you can't bet against a man who wants to erase the memory of his last figh, and a someone who has gone 5 rounds with Khabib.
WINNER: Al Iaquinta
Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak (Heavyweight)
Spivak came in to UFC an udefeated heavyweight but quickly learned that the UFC is a whole other level and was given a rude awakenin by Walt Harris, looking at the ceiling after only a minute. The stacks are against him here against the local favourite, who desperately needs a win.
Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima (Welterweight)
Possibly more closer than we think, and we might be wrong, but Lima seems to be back on track with his confidence and ability right now. Time will tell against a very game opponent in Jumeau.
Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro (Heavyweight)
Do not miss this one. Nether have many pro bouts on their records but the ones they have, have not lasted veery long. You dont get the nickname 'Bad Man' for nothing so we'll go with Justin Tafa to be the first to land some knuckles on his opponents chin first.
Preliminary Card (ESPN2)
Jake Matthews vs. Rostam Akman (Welterweight)
Akman is another example of a fighter who came in with a lot of promise, but didnt really light up the Octagon on his UFC debut. He will have taken away a lot from that and could upset the home town fans against a formidable opponent, who might be about to find himelf on the verge of a UFC exit.
Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo (Welterweight)
Pitolo to prove why Potter shouldn't go by the name of 'Rockstar'.
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Brad Riddell (Lightweight)
Mullarkey had a rough spell on the domestic scene early in his career but has managed to get back on track with a string of wins. He's up against a highly touted Kiwi in Brad 'Quake' Riddell but should have the tools to get the nod.
Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn dos Santos (Women’s Featherweight)
We are taking Zarah Fairn dos Santos to cause an upset in Australia. She'll no doubt come in as an underdog but to be honest, Anderson hasn't really impressed us. She's tall but doesn't use her range, and doesn't have the best take down defence either. She might not get the stoppage but its definitley worth backing an upset to go down on the night.
WINNER: Dos Santos
Early Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim (Women’s Flyweight)
At only 23 the Australian flyweight has so much potential, but it migh not be the right time for her to be in the UFC. A lot of pressure for Kassem to win this one and we have a feeling she might just buckle and come up short against an opponent who took Shevchenko the distance.
WINNER: Yeon Kim
Khalid Taha vs. Bruno Silva (Bantamweight)
This Brazilian packs a punch for his weightclass and will showcse this once again against the German star.