From the moment his UFC journey began, Israel Adesanya has been the author of his own story. Every fight, every performance, every leap in the rankings has seemed to unfold exactly as he said it would, as if he had spoken it into existence. With his prediction of becoming the undisputed champ in Australia, the story truly has the feeling of having come full circle.
Anyone looking to dismiss his meteoric rise as a fluke is singing a different tune after his performance at Marvel Stadium this weekend. Robert Whittaker was as aggressive and crisp as we’ve ever witnessed, but Adesanya was able to carefully select his killshot in the middle of the onslaught, and the audience audibly gasped as a heavy left hand ended the nine-fight win streak and championship reign of Bobby Knuckles.
“He threw everything we expected,” Adesanya said. “We had everything planned for plan A to Z…He caught me with a nice one, but I returned… I’m tough and smart. At the end of the day, my team and I were smart.”
Yorgan DeCastro won his UFC contract in front of a couple hundred onlookers on Dana White’s Contender Series this summer, but made the transition to fighting in front of 57,000 fans on a pay-per-view main card with ease. Despite some good work from fellow newcomer Justin Tafa, DeCastro’s notorious punching power was wielded with a perfectly-timed right hand that shut off his opponent’s lights midway through the first round.
It was a near-perfect debut for the man from Cape Verde, who was suddenly overcome with emotion at the victory.
“Not many people get to live their dreams. I’m living mine right now.”
The battle between Brad Riddell and Jamie Mullarkey was the first clear contender for Fight of the Night honors, and it would hold on to that honor for the duration of the card. Swinging for the finish from the opening bell, both men displayed a mind-boggling degree of toughness in a back-and-forth slugfest that belied the final scorecards. Riddell would come away with the win in his promotional debut, but the efforts of both fighters created an instant classic.
In her first fight on her native Australian soil in five years, Megan Anderson got back into the win column with an impressive first round submission of newcomer Zarah Fairn. Despite a fast start by her opponent, Anderson controlled the entire fight from the ground, executing a beautiful triangle choke, only the fourth such choke in UFC competition this year.
57,127 (new UFC attendance record)
AU$8,088,661 / US$5,478,345