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UFC 243 Report: Adesanya Wins

October 6, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Israel Adesanya UFC Reebok The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Robert Whittaker (185 lbs.) vs. interim champ Israel Adesanya (184 lbs.) – for middleweight title
#15 Dan Hooker (155 lbs.) vs. #6 Al Iaquinta (155 lbs.)
Sergey Spivak (233 lbs.) vs. #14 Tai Tuivasa (264 lbs.)
Luke Jumeau (171 lbs.) vs. Dhiego Lima (171 lbs.)
Yorgan De Castro (265 lbs.) vs. Justin Tafa (265 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET)
Rostem Akman (171 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (171 lbs.)
Maki Pitolo (170 lbs.) vs. Callan Potter (171 lbs.)
Jamie Mullarkey (156 lbs.) vs. Brad Riddell (156 lbs.)
Megan Anderson (146 lbs.) vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos (146 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+, 6:45 p.m. ET)
Nadia Kassem (126 lbs.) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (128 lbs.)**
Bruno Silva (136 lbs.) vs. Khalid Taha (137 lbs.)*


Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 243. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. UFC 243 isn’t a great card, but from where I sit the main event is the best/most anticipated fight in all of 2019 when UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker takes on surging interim champion Israel Adesanya. Apart from something like Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson it’s probably the highest level of MMA you’re going to find around this time. The co-main is a really solid lightweight affair as Dan Hooker looks to break through in the rankings against perennial tough out Al Iaquinta. Beyond that it’s kind of slim pickings, though Jake Matthews is usually an entertaining fight and if you follow kick boxing the UFC debut of Brad Riddell might pique your interest. All in all though this is a two fight card, thankfully those two are pretty darn good.

UFC 243 comes to the world from Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. On commentary we have Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier while Megan Olivi is handling on site reporting. We are under the new rules which in this case includes replay for a fight ending sequence. The big difference in the new rules is around scoring, the new rules encourage more 10-8’s, and the requirements to be considered downed. There’s actually a couple of different definitions of what a grounded opponent is, I think we’re under the most recent one from the ABC which says you only need one palm or fist on the mat but it has to be flat.

Khalid Taha has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a very quick win and he’s looking to continue that here and get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Taha did miss weight for this fight, never a good thing, and will be looking for the win to help get out from under that particular shadow. Bruno Silva brings a three fight unbeaten streak into his UFC debut, he’s trying to score an impressive win and announce his arrival to the wider audience. Taha is your -240 favorite to +190 for Silva.

Bantamweight Bout: Bruno Silva (11-3-1, 136 lbs.) vs. Khalid Taha (13-2, 137 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Taha is an inch taller and has four inches of reach over Silva. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men moving early, Silva showing a few stance switches then lands a calf kick. Silva avoids a leg kick. Right then a left hook from Taha drop Silva but he fights back up in the clinch and pushes Taha into the fence. Not much going on in the clinch here, Taha is finally able to fight free. Both men showing stance switching now. Taha misses a right. Silva’s face is already marked up a bit. Bit of a right from Silva then Taha avoids a takedown attempt. Taha with a glancing right, Silva responds with a body kick. Body kick from Taha now, things are definitely heating up a bit now. Taha lands a right to counter a left hook and Silva is really struggling with that power. Silva fires a low kick that hits Taha in the groin so we’ve got a time out. Replay confirms the low blow, more of a glancing one but definitely hit the cup, but Taha is good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Silva tries a takedown but Taha defends. Taha lands a right and they clinch up again. Silva gets a body lock and tries to work knees but one of them hits the groin again so we’ve got time again. That one was much worse if Taha’s reaction is any indicator, replay confirms it. The ref gives Silva a hard warning, Taha is able to recover after a minute or so and we’re back to fighting. Silva looking to still circle, Taha fires a few body kicks. Bit of a right from Silva and they clinch again but Taha’s balance is solid and they wind up on the fence as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Taha

ROUND TWO: Silva opens with a body kick then Taha drops him with a right and barely misses an illegal kick. Silva fights back up but Taha is pressuring him and landing kicks. Body kick from Silva and he avoids the counter right this time. Taha defends a single leg attempt but doesn’t limp leg when he should have and that allows Silva to spin him down then get into Taha’s closed guard. Silva is pretty good about posturing up, he lands to the body then eats a bit of an up kick. Taha lands another up kick but this time Silva is able to pass because of it and moves to side control. Silva basically puts himself back in half guard. Taha is looking to set up some kind of deep half guard move but Silva is a rock on top of him and will not be moved. Silva lands a few blows then an elbow. Silva moves to half guard and lands a knee to the body. Taha to his knees now, Silva grabs a front headlock and looks to transition to a cradle to keep control. Silva moves to the ride position, Taha winds up going to his back for half guard as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Silva, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Silva misses a spinning kick to get the round going. Taha lands a leg kick but winds up in a clinch and Silva is able to trip him down but Taha fights back up in the clinch. A few knees go back and forth then Silva looks to grab a single leg , Taha lands a knee to the head while defending. Front headlock now for Taha and he snaps Silva down then Silva comes up still in the clinch. Taha gets free and they clash on kicks. Silva is circling away, Taha lands a left then blocks a double leg attempt and lands elbows from the ride position. Taha lands rights and is looking to take the back. Arm triangle attempt for Taha, that’s pretty tight, he moves to the side, squeezes and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Khalid Taha via Submission, arm triangle choke, at 3:00 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Taha for his work this evening. Mic time for Taha, he acknowledges the crowd and thanks all of his fans for their support. Asked about the groin strikes he says Silva wasn’t dangerous but won the second round and the ability to win rounds is what makes him dangerous, then mentions having to adjust in the third. Asked when he’d like to be back he wants to talk to management but he’s ready, and feels Australia is like a second home to him and would love to fight back here. To close he dedicates the win to his brother.

This is a nice finish. Taha uses punches and elbows to unsettle Silva, then when Silva looks to keep his guard high Taha uses that positioning to get the arm triangle position, force things flat on the mat and then get the tap.

Nadia Kassem has gone 1-1 in the UFC, she’s coming off of a loss in her return to flyweight and she’s trying to avoid her first ever losing streak. Ji Yeon Kim has gone 2-2 in the UFC, she was last seen dropping a decision to Antonina Shevchenko but perhaps more important is that she missed weight for that fight as well as this one. Missing weight twice in a row is a terrible look and if Kim is able to win she’ll almost certainly be fighting up at bantamweight next. Kim is the -175 favorite to a +145 comeback on Kassem.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Nadia Kassem (5-1, 126 lbs.) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (8-2-2, 128 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kim is two inches taller and has a whopping six inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves then Kassem lands a kick but walks into a counter left that drops her. Southpaw for Kassem as things settle down a bit. Kim lands a right to counter a body kick and they tie up in space, Kassem lands an elbow. They wind up on the fence and Kassem is able to get a modified lateral drop to get on top in the guard of Kim. Kim back up, though they’re still in the clinch. Knees to the body go back and forth then they break and trade power hand punches. Body kicks are traded then they both land lefts. Kim lands a right but neither woman has a lot pop on their punches right now. Kassme lands a superman punch. Kim with a bit of a right. Kassem misses a couple of kicks. A few punches from Kim fall a little short. Kassem lands a right hook. A few side kicks to the body from Kassem then a straight left. Kim tries to punch in close, she lands a right and they clinch again. A few knees and punches are traded then they separate. Kassem avoids a right as thee round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kassem but I’m not sure about that

ROUND TWO: Kim lands a right to counter a body kick. Kassem is looking to kick at range, Kim trying to counter with punches. Kim lands another right to counter a kick. They trade power hand punches. Kassem lands a front kick to the body but she’s dropping her hands and Kim is finding her counter right consistently. More front kicks from Kassem, Kim punches close and then lands a few punches in close and they break. Both women miss strikes. Kassem keeps using the side kick to try and keep distance, Kim closes distance and lands a flurry but the ref breaks them up mid combination to address a lost mouthpiece. Error on the ref there. They start trading again on the restart, Kim is having her way when she gets into boxing distance. Another few punches land for Kim. Kassem is fading, given how many kicks she’s thrown I’m not blaming her. Kim with a series of punches that land. Stiff jab from Kim and Kassem is busted up. Kim flurries along the fence looking for a finish but Kassem keeps fighting back just enough. More punches from Kim, she lands a couple of hard body shots that drop Kassem and that prompts the stoppage just before the round ends.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ji Yeon Kim via TKO, body punches, at 4:59 of Round 2

Kassem faded badly and Kim constantly punished her for it. Kim gets an interview with her translator, she notes this is her first interview in the UFC and thanks the fans for watching and showing up. She mentions the ref blunder as she felt she could have stopped it there, then to close she wants to be on the Busan card at the end of December.

Here’s the finish. Kassem is clearly tired, using that side kick in that proximity is never a good sign trust me I’ve done it myself. Kim starts opening her entries with a right to the body, eventually lands a good one that freezes Kassem then a second floors her and that’s all she wrote.

That will close Fight Pass action, now to ESPN 2 for the rest of the prelims.

Megan Anderson has gone just 1-2 in the UFC, for a woman at one point built to be a possible successor to the featherweight title she’s now fighting for relevance as well as her spot on the roster. Zarah Farin Dos Santos brings a three fight winning streak into her UFC debut and she’s looking to score that all important first win in the Octagon. Anderson is the heavy -550 favorite to +375 for Dos Santos.

Women’s Featherweight Bout: Megan Anderson (9-4, 146 lbs.) vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos (6-2, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Anderson is four inches taller but the reach is identical. Dos Santos comes out punching and backs Anderson to the fence where they clinch up. Anderson spins Dos Santos and looks to slip around towards the back, Dos Santos trying to punch her way free of the grip. Anderson gets an elevated takedown and moves to half guard. Dos Santos has the head still wrapped up, she lets go as Anderson moves to full mount. Anderson lands a few short punches but isn’t really posturing up yet. Elbows from Anderson as she postures up for a second to land them. Dos Santos is bleeding from one of those elbows. Anderson lands a few more elbows and postures up then drops a few more before Dos Santos ties her up. There’s almost no technique going for Dos Santos in her escapes, she’s muscling everything and Anderson is working her over. Dos Santos forces her way up and reverses the position but Anderson gets a triangle choke in transition, she picks an ankle as Dos Santos tries to stand and as they fall back to a side Dos Santos has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Megan Anderson via Submission, triangle choke, at 3:57 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Anderson for her work this evening. Anderson is visibly emotional as she starts her interview, she feels amazing and knows she’s not looked good in her last fights and wanted to prove she’s a well rounded fighter then thanks the fans and calls Australian fans the best in the world. She talks us through the finish and notes she wanted to prove she can fight on the mat. To close she puts over the crowd and wanted to prove to herself she’s one of the best in the world.

You can hear Anderson’s corner, UFC veteran James Krause, calling for her to both pull on the head and then at the right time to under hook her leg and strip the base to remove defensive options. Solid corner work, and good on Anderson for listening and following through.

Brad Riddell brings a three fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he’s been making noise as a potential prospect in the sport and is hoping to solidify that status in this fight. Jamie Mullarkey is riding a four fight winning streak coming into his UFC debut, he’s likewise hoping to announce himself as a fighter to pay attention to going forward. The odds are with Riddell at -185 to a +115 payout for Mullarkey.

Lightweight Bout: Jamie Mullarkey (12-2, 156 lbs.) vs. Brad Riddell (6-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mullarkey is five inches taller as well as three of reach on Riddell. They touch gloves to get us going. Mullarkey working some inside leg kicks and long jabs, looking to exploit his reach advantage. Riddell lands a right. Mullarkey lands a leg kick, Riddell counters with a couple of punches then a leg kick. Left hook from Riddell. Mullarkey lands a bit of a jab. Stiff jab from Riddell, his lead hand is starting to do work. Mullarkey lands a jab but eats a counter right. A few more leg kicks from Riddell land. Riddell lands a left hook again. Bit of a right from Riddell, then a left hook in close. The “woo’s” have started, at least it took them a while. Mullarkey lands a jab, then tries a double leg but Riddell sprawls on him and they wind up clinched. They wind up on the fence with Mullarkey looking for a body lock. Riddell has his back on the fence but they’re kind of stalling out. They separate without incident. Both men feinting a bit more now, Riddell jabs the body. Left hook from Riddell and he’s definitely got Mullarkey’s attention. Riddell is going to the body a bit now, setting up his head attacks. Left hook from Riddell lands after Mullarkey missed an uppercut and that will basically end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Riddell

ROUND TWO: There’s a small cut on the right eyebrow of Riddell after the first round. Riddell comes out punching, Mullarkey lands a jab. Mullarkey hits a double leg, Riddell instantly bounces back up but they’re still in the clinch. Mullarkey gets a body lock takedown along the fence, Riddell wall walks but Mullarkey gets his back with one hook in. Full rear waist lock from Mullarkey, Riddell avoids a mat return attempt and separates. Riddell lands a right then a left to the body. Left body kick from Riddell but Mullarkey catches it and sweeps the leg to get a takedown. Half guard for Mullarkey. Riddell bases up and hits a sweep into side control. Mullarkey up on a single leg, they’re upright again and on the fence. Riddell looking to defend, he’s got a double wrist lock to break the grip of Mullarkey but can’t get free. They break and we’re back at distance. Riddell lands a heavy leg kick. Mullarkey is looking to jab, Riddell hooking his way in close and lands a left one that staggers Mullarkey for a second. Riddell sprawls away from a double leg. Mullarkey tries another double leg but this time Riddell counters him to land in full mount. Elbows from Riddell and Mullarkey is giving up his back to avoid the damage. Riddell lands a few more punches as he gets the back and is after the choke. Riddell can’t keep the position though and Mullarkey is able to shake him off and get on top as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Riddell, 20-18 Riddell overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Riddell lands a left to the body then a hard calf kick. They punch in close then Riddell lands a bit of a knee. Mullarkey lands a jab. Riddell misses a left hook. Mullarkey misses an uppercut and Riddell gets a double leg into his guard. Riddell lands a few punches while passing to half guard. Mullarkey fights his way back up and lands a jab. Riddell with a hard left hook then a right. Mullarkey trying to punch back but he eats a hard right then a left to the body and a right elbow. Riddell is coming on strong but Mullarkey lands a left hook that stuns him and he gets a takedown, has the back and is after the choke. Crazy sequence there. Riddell back up to his base, Mullarkey steps free and we’re back at distance. Stiff lefts from Riddell then a right, Mullarkey is hurt but he’s got a chin on him for sure. Mullarkey winds up pulling guard, Riddell with offense from half guard. They wind up on the feet again and more hooks from Riddell to the head and body before he sprawls away from a takedown attempt. Riddell pushes Mullarkey over and gets on top in half guard landing punches. Riddell just stands free and makes Mullarkey get back up. Body shots from Riddell and a right. More lefts to the body from Riddell then they trade uppercuts in close. Mullarkey is a tough human being, Riddell staggers him with a right then tees off along the fence but Mullarkey wont go down. Riddell sprawls away from a takedown and tees off from side control. Mullarkey hangs onto a single leg and that will basically save him though Riddell lands one more hard right from his knees as the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Riddell, 30-26 Riddell overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brad Riddell via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)

I have no idea how Mullarkey stayed upright in that last round, he ate some bombs. Riddell gets an interview after that, he thanks the city and fans says this is the best debut he could have hand thinks this will be the best crowd he’ll ever be in front of. He says the fight was tough, but feels this wasn’t his best performance and wants a quick turnaround. He says the walk to the cage was unreal.

A bit of the action from the 3rd round. Mullarkey decides to hook with a hooker and pays for it constantly before Riddell doesn’t bring his right hand back and a left hook from Mullarkey badly wobbles him. Does not lead to the finish though.

Another exchange, you can see Riddell is the superior technician as well as a power puncher but Mullarkey just wont go away.

That last punch from Riddell just before the clock ran out, a thing of beauty.

Callan Potter lost his UFC debut earlier this year when he was overwhelmed by Jalin Turner, now he’s trying to bounce back and score his first UFC win. Maki Pitolo has won his last three fights including his bout on Dana’s Contender Series that prompted his appearance here, now he’s trying to make good on his first appearance and score the biggest win of his career. Pitolo is the -350 favorite to +275 for Potter.

Welterweight Bout: Maki Pitolo (12-4, 170 lbs.) vs. Callan Potter (17-8, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Potter is two inches taller while Pitolo has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Pitolo lands a counter left hook. Inside leg kick from Pitolo. Bit of a left hook from Potter then Pitolo lands a few body shots. Lunging left from Potter lands and they clinch just long enough for Potter to land a knee to the body before breaking. Left uppercut then a right from Pitolo. Both men land punches and we go RoadHouse for a second or two. More pocket brawling and both men get hurt but Potter lands a couple of left hooks that stun Pitolo. They clinch up, Potter looks for a trip takedown but Pitolo counters and lands on top in his guard. Potter wall walks to his knees but he slows down and that lets Pitolo get a choke attempt, but he has no hooks and bails on the attempt as Potter gets on top. Pitolo is looking to wall walk now, but Potter mounts his legs. Pitolo wall walks up, tries to grab a guillotine but that’s a mistake as Potter elevates then slams him into side control. Escape from Pitolo and we get more brawling. Potter lands a left hook that stuns Pitolo. Right uppercut then a left from Pitolo but Potter punches into a clinch on the fence. Knees from Potter to the body and head and the round will end in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Potter

ROUND TWO: Both men showing the hands, but no one is moving their head. Pitolo lands a couple of punches. The right hand lead from Pitolo is doing work now instead of the lead hand. Pitolo lands a body kick, Potter responds with a leg kick. Potter is struggling to enter the clinch now, but he lands a left hook then a knee to the body. Pitolo lands a couple of hooks but his right hand is constantly dropping and that’s letting the left of Potter get through. Potter lands a right but can’t secure the clinch. They hit the fence and Potter gets the clinch but Pitolo gets the body lock. They spin a few times and Pitolo winds up on the cage. Potter lands to the body with punches and knees. Both men land a few knees to the leg and body. The ref breaks them up after they don’t have enough action for him. Potter punches into the clinch and unloads with punches as he’s got Pitolo on the fence. They trade a bit and Potter gets the clinch again. At long boxing distance Pitolo is working well but any time they get to the pocket or into this dirty boxing position Potter is the more effective party. Knees from Potter then a right elbow. The ref breaks them up again. Both men start punching, Pitolo lands an uppercut but Potter eats it and lands a couple of counters as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Potter, 20-18 Potter overall

ROUND THREE: Potter resumes pushing forward and they clinch then he gets a trip into the guard of Pitolo. Potter moves to half guard as they hit the fence. Pitolo is trying to get guard back and wall walk, he gets to his knees and then Potter slips off taking his back. Pitolo gets his back standing and then they break. Potter eats some punches coming forward. They clinch up and Potter gets a lateral drop and lands in half guard. Potter is looking to pass, he goes to side control but gets caught up trying to get mount. Actually Potter nearly has mount, there’s just a butterfly hook preventing it. Pitolo does get half guard now but Potter is landing short punches and has a good position right now. Elbows from Potter, Pitolo is trying to get some kind of single leg but there’s not much there. Potter lands lefts to the head, he’s looking to pass to mount but can’t complete it. Full mount now for Potter as Pitolo tried to get to his knees. Pitolo gets 1/4 guard but he’s eating some offense. Potter lands short punches and elbows as the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Potter, 30-27 Potter overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Callan Potter via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

No issues with Pitolo taking the first. Mic time for Potter, he thanks his team and wishes a happy birthday to his partner. He says that no matter how old you get if you’ve still got the grind in you you can still fight and he’s still got that. Asked what’s next for him he says he just wants to create more memories.

Jake Matthews just had a three fight winning streak snapped by Anthony Rocco Martin, it was his first loss at welterweight as well and now he’s trying to bounce back with a win. Rostem Akman suffered his first professional loss when he debuted in the UFC this year, he’s trying to bounce back and get his first UFC win under his belt. Matthews is your favorite at -400 to a +310 comeback on Akman.

Welterweight Bout: Rostem Akman (6-1, 171 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (14-4, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Matthews is an inch and a half taller and has one inch of reach on Akman. They touch gloves to get us going. Circling from Matthews early. Matthews lands a couple of leg kicks. Akman showing some stance switches now. Matthews with some more kicks, he’s fighting long so far. Akman avoids a high kick. Body kick from Matthews. Bit of a left from Akman to counter a front kick. Matthews misses a blitz attack. Matthews lands a right. Bit of a left from Matthews. Akman is able to avoid a couple of punches. Akman lands a right to counter a leg kick. Matthews lands a right. Both men miss punches. Matthews swings a left to the body and a right to the head, but his striking technique seems rather poor so far. Right from Matthews will mostly close out the uneventful round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Akman still has the pressure going but he’s not really getting anything out of it. Matthews lands a right that stumbles Akman for a second. Akman with a right that’s partially successful. Akman avoids a right and lands a left hook counter. I’m kind of surprised Matthews hasn’t even tried a takedown yet. Bit of a left from Matthews and he’s the one pressuring forward for a bit. Both men miss a few punches. Head kick from Matthews is blocked then he lands a right. Right to the body and head from Matthews. They both miss winging rights. Akman gets closer and tries a couple of knees. Bit of a right from Akman then a right to the body. Matthews lands a counter left hook. Thus far this is a moderately interesting sparring session. Matthews lands a right to the body. Body kick from Matthews and they both miss hooks in close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews, 20-18 Matthews overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. They both land lead hand punches. Matthews with a few inside leg kicks. They get close and both try some punches. Both men with glancing rights. Matthews lands a right to the body. Another tie up and Matthews lands an uppercut before they separate. A few jabs from Matthews to the body and head. Matthews avoids a punch and gets a rear waist lock, drags Akman down for a second but Akman back up along the fence. They’re clinched on the fence now, trade some knees then Matthews lands an elbow as they break. Matthews is winning numerically but the fight isn’t really engaging, though credit to his defense as Akman has landed almost nothing. Matthews lands a combination. Knee tap attempt from Matthews winds up in with a clinch ont he fence, they trade a bit. Akman sits for a bad guillotine as time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews, 30-27 Matthews overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jake Matthews via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Well that was certainly a way to kill time. Matthews does get a brief interview, he apologizes for not being the old version of himself and he should have wrestled more but wanted to strike with the striker because that’s how Aussies do it.

Well that’s it for prelims, to PPV for the main card.

Yorgan De Castro is undefeated and coming into his UFC debut on the back of a win on the Contender Series, he’s trying to remain perfect and score the first of hopefully many UFC wins. Justin Tafa is also undefeated and making his UFC debut, he’s hoping to score that first UFC win as well. Tafa is a slight -135 favorite to +105 for De Castro.

Heavyweight Bout: Yorgan De Castro (5-0, 265 lbs.) vs. Justin Tafa (3-0, 265 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height and have identical reaches. They touch gloves, Tafa fighting southpaw. They trade power hand punches then clinch up. A bit of brawling then De Castro lands a body kick and they clinch up again. Knees to the body from Tafa as they jockey for position along the fence. Some body work from Tafa in close, he’s got De Castro stuck on the fence so far. They break after a bit more clinch fighting. De Castro lands another body kick. Another clinch, Tafa lands an uppercut and they break. Tafa lunges forward wildly, De Castro then SLEEPS him with a right hand.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Yorgan De Castro via KO, punch, at 2:10 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. De Castro for his work this evening. On behalf of Mark Radulich, BOOOM. . . heavyweights. De Castro is visibly emotional after the decision is announced, Jon Anik has to interview him on his knees. De Castro puts over Australia and hopes his opponent recovers quickly, thanks the UFC for the chance to fight in the organization and he wants his bonus as well as a fight in December. He talks us through the finish, puts over his opponent a bit and then puts over Melbourne.

This is technique karma, Tafa enters with his hands down and his chin almost literally the first part of his body towards his opponent, De Castro doesn’t need great technique to punish that he just has to punch a little straighter. Also both of them leave their heads on the center line, but a great visual to the finish if nothing else.

Luke Jumeau has gone 2-1 in the UFC, is coming off of a win but hasn’t fought since February of 2018. Jumeau is trying to get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Dhiego Lima has won his last two fights to secure his first UFC winning streak, now he’s hoping to prove he’s finally found his footing in the promotion. Lima is your -150 favorite while a Jumeau comeback would pay at +120.

Welterweight Bout: Luke Jumeau (13-4, 171 lbs.) vs. Dhiego Lima (14-7, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lima has three inches of height and reach on Jumeau. Circling to start. Jumeau lands a leg kick. Minor feinting from both men, Jumeau lands another leg kick. Lima lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Lima. Both men still trying to get a feel for each other, looking for openings and getting a feel for the timing. Lima lands another calf kick. Jumeau lands another leg kick. Lima lands a left to the body and takes a poke to the eye. Replay confirms the swipe to the eye, the doctor is in to double check on Lima but we’re good to continue. Both men showing the lead hand more on the restart. They trade leg kicks again, Lima is targeting the calf though and that’s already starting to pay dividends. They kind of circle away the last seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lima

ROUND TWO: Jumeau lands a body kick to get the round going. Both men miss rights. Lima with a hard calf kick that takes the legs from Jumeau for a second. Lima catches a kick and gets a takedown into the guard of Jumeau. Body to head shots from Lima while Jumeau looks to control posture. Jumeau is able to kick Lima off of him and regain his feet. Lima off balances Jumeau off of a kick and gets a clinch on the fence. Jumeau is able to spin free without absorbing too much damage. Leg kick from Lima and a bit of a left hook. Jumeau is drowning a bit in the quicksand of Lima’s pace and style. Lima avoids a few punches then lands a calf kick. Jumeau wobbles Lima with a right uppercut but backs off a bit when they trade. Lima kicks the calf again and gets a takedown along the fence. A few body shots from Lima then lefts to the head as Jumeau is looking to wall walk. Lima lets him escape just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lima, 20-18 Lima overall

ROUND THREE: Lima opens with a calf kick. Bit of a right from Jumeau to counter a calf kick but his feet are not really under him at this point. Lima lands a right. Another calf kick from Lima as he’s circling. They clinch up on the fence after Jumeau defends a single leg attempt. They break without incident but Jumeau needs to radically change what’s going on in the cage. Lima circling, he lands a couple of punches to counter an uppercut. Another calf kick from Lima. Lima ducks under a hook and they clinch again. Lima is after a single leg but Jumeau defends and lands a couple of punches before they break. Jumeau lands a leg kick. Both men miss in close and stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lima, 30-27 Lima overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dhiego Lima via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Whoever gave Jumeau two rounds should be publicly flogged. No interview for Lima and even commentary is burying that scorecard for Jumeau.

Tai Tuivasa had some hype a couple of years ago but has lost his last two fights in the UFC, now he’s in desperate need of a win just to prove he deserves to still be on the roster. Sergey Spivak was undefeated prior to his UFC debut when he was taken out by Walt Harris, he’s trying to avoid his first ever losing streak and get that first UFC win. Tuivasa is the favorite at a hefty -410 to a +320 comeback on Spivak.

Heavyweight Bout: Sergey Spivak (9-1, 233 lbs.) vs. #14 Tai Tuivasa (8-2, 264 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Spivac is an inch taller and has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things going. Tuivasa lands a heavy leg kick that sweeps Spivac down then lands a hammer fist before making him stand back up. Tuivasa is backing Spivac to the fence, Spivac lands a right and gets a knee tap takedown. Spivac tries to get control but Tuivasa scoots to the fence and wall walks then separates. Another leg kick from Tuivasa. Standing elbow from Tuivasa then a leg kick. They get close, Spivac with a modified headlock takeover but he can’t keep him down and Tuivsa lands a couple of punches in close. Spivac catches a kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Spivac is chasing a scarf hold neck crack or armbar but he’s not Aleksei Oleinik and Tuivasa is able to get free and regain his feet. Another leg kick from Tuivasa but Spivac gets a headlock throw and lands in side control this time. Short punches from Spivac and he’s after that scarf hold submission again but Tuivasa is on his hip and that releases most of the pressure. Tuivasa back up and they both miss punches. Spivac catches another kick and takes Tuivasa down again into half guard. That’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-10 DRAW

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Bit of a right from Spivac. Double leg attempt from Spivac, they hit the fence but he gets him down into half guard. Short rights from Spivac as Tuivasa regains his feet. Tuivasa with an elbow as they separate. Leg kick from Tuivasa. Tuivasa misses a left to the body. Bit of a right from Tuivasa. Tuivasa lands a left as they clinch up and hit the fence. Spivac lands an uppercut as they break. Both men miss punches and Spivac gets another double leg into side control. Spivac moves to full mount, lands a couple of rights and an elbow that cuts Tuivasa. Rights from Spivac land flush, he’s after an arm triangle choke but the fence is complicating that. Spivac gets a bit of space and puts Tuivasa to sleep with that choke.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sergey Spivak via Technical Submission, arm triangle choke, at 3:14 of Round 2

Substantial upset for Spivac, and Tuivasa’s slide down continues. Mic time for Spivac, he starts with broken English to put over the city and his opponent. He goes to Russian for the rest, talking us through the finish and putting over his coaches then dedicates the win to his family. To close he thanks a lot of his training partners.

Here’s a bit just before the finish. Spivac uses those strikes to set up the choke, you can see him locking up the arm triangle just before the clip cuts out. Mixing strikes with the jiu-jitsu is an important component of successful fighting at the highest level.

Al Iaquinta has gone 1-2 in his last three fights and is coming off of a loss to Donald Cerrone, while he’s still highly ranked he must defend that spot here or fall towards obscurity. Dan Hooker has gone 5-1 at lightweight in the UFC, he’s coming off of a violent knockout of James Vick and is hoping to move up in the rankings with another win here. Hooker is a slight -160 favorite to +130 for Iaquinta.

Lightweight Bout: #15 Dan Hooker (18-8, 155 lbs.) vs. #6 Al Iaquinta (14-5-1, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hooker is two inches taller and has a whopping five inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things going. Iaquinta is circling around early, Hooker trying to feel him out. Inside leg kick from Hooker. Leg kick from Hooker lands. Bit of a jab from Hooker, and Iaquinta’s utter lack of head movement is already on full display. Hooker lands another leg kick. Iaquinta is doing some stance switching. A few jabs land for Hooker then a calf kick. Hooker wobbles Iaquinta for a second but Iaquinta is still very present. Bit of a right from Iaquinta but he eats a few leg kicks for the effort. More calf kicks from Hooker take the legs from under Iaquinta. Iaquinta catches a leg kick and tries a single leg that stalls out on the fence, Hooker with elbows to the head. Those are nasty elbows and Hooker winds up on top looking for a guillotine. Iaquinta rolls to his back to release the pressure, Hooker gets his back with a full o body triangle locked in. Hooker is moving from body triangle to hooks while Iaquinta is hand fighting, his defense from the back is pretty darn good. They’re back up and separate. Hooker back to jabbing and lands a calf kick that locks up the leg for a second. Another calf kick that drops Iaquinta. Hooker slipping and countering quite well, and Iaquinta is limping on his left leg. A head kick from Hooker brings the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Hooker

ROUND TWO: Hooker is back to jabbing, Iaquinta lands a left to the body. Front kick to the body from Hooker, he’s methodically overwhelming Iaquinta with options. Another calf kick from Hooker lands. Iaquinta can’t reliably close distance and Hooker is picking him apart at distance. Hooker avoids a high kick. Inside leg kick lands for Hooker then another calf kick. Iaquinta shoots a single leg, Hooker defends then makes him stand back up. Hooker avoids a few punches and lands a counter. Iaquinta lands a right. Another bit of a right from Iaquinta. Hooker lands to the body then lands a right. Left hook lands for Hooker, Iaquinta lands a calf kick. The southpaw stance from Iaquinta is stalling a bit of Hooker’s offense but every time he goes orthodox he’s getting kicked in the calf. Hooker lands a right to the body then an inside leg kick. Iaquinta shoots a double leg, Hooker stuffs it and they hit the fence. Hooker winds up holding a rear waist lock landing a few punches before they break. A right from Hooker floors Iaquinta, he gets on top in half guard and lands elbows. Now punches from Hooker but the bell might save Iaquinta. Iaquinta rolls under for a heel hook, not much there as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooker, 20-17 Hooker overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Hooker lands a right then a right to the body. Iaquinta is hanging out southpaw to protect his left leg almost the whole time now. Head kick from Hooker is blocked. Counter jab lands for Hooker as he avoids a punch. More lead hand work from Hooker, Iaquinta lands a right hook. Hooker wobbles Iaquinta with a left elbow but he recovers quickly. Body kick from Iaquinta but he eats a three punch counter combination. Hooker lands a right. Iaquinta is bleeding from the nose, again. Hooker avoids a takedown attempt and lands another left. Iaquinta bulls forward and lands a right. More jabs from Hooker continue to land. Iaquinta lands a bit of a right hook. Inside leg kick from Hooker lands. Hooker slips a couple of punches and lands a jab. Hooker lands a right to the body, evades counters and lands a left hook. Really slick stuff from Hooker all fight. More jabs from Hooker as Iaquinta tries to come forward. They trade lefts. Left then a right from Hooker and he drops Iaquinta with another calf kick but lets him back up. Hooker with more jabs as the clock runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooker, 30-26 Hooker overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dan Hooker via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x2)

Big win for Hooker, who continues rolling. Mic time for Hooker, he says he wants Poirier in New Zealand next year then walks off. Credit to him for that.

Israel Adesanya is undefeated as a professional, has gone 6-0 in the UFC and is coming off of my Fight of the Year so far for 2019 when he bested Kelvin Gastelum to win the interim middleweight title in April. Adesanya could cap off one of the most impressive runs in UFC history here by taking out the best middleweight in the world and winning his first undisputed UFC title. Robert Whittaker is the reigning UFC middleweight champion, hasn’t lost since 2014 and is on a nine fight winning streak. Whittaker is looking for his first official title defense as his last fight wound up being a non-title affair when Yoel Romero missed weight for their fight back in June of 2018, and hoping to further cement himself as the best middleweight in the world and possibly one of the greatest of all time. The odds are slightly with Adesanya at –125 to -105 for Whittaker.

Middleweight Title Bout: (c) Robert Whittaker (20-4, 185 lbs.) vs. (ic) Israel Adesanya (17-0, 184 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Adesanya is four inches taller and has a whopping six and a half inches of reach advantage. Adesanya does a lot of stance switching while Whittaker normally fights orthodox. Whittaker bouncing early, lands a side kick to the knee. Adesanya avoids a lunging left hook. Leg kick from Adesanya lands. Bit of a left hook from Whittaker then a right to the body. Whittaker lands a jab. Adesanya avoids a jab. Stiff jab from Whittaker but he misses the follow up punches. Adesanya avoids a blitz attack and lands a jab. Another lunging left from Whittaker misses. Overhand right from Whittaker lands. Side kick to the knee from Whittaker lands. Bit of a counter jab from Adesanya lands. Whittaker misses a high kick. The footwork of Adesanya is keeping him safe so far and is something Whittaker will have to adjust to. Bit of a left hook from Whittaker then he lands an inside leg kick. Adesanya avoids another combination attack. They clash on rights then trade leg kicks. Adesanya has a high kick blocked. Whittaker now avoids a combination. Adesanya avoids a right after deflecting a jab. Adesanya slips away from a high kick. Leg kick from Whittaker then a body kick. Glancing right from Whittaker but Adesanya is deflecting much of these with good framing and disruption of punching lanes. They trade rights and Whittaker gets knocked down with a massive right just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Adesanya

ROUND TWO: Whittaker with a lunging left hook that lands. Stiff jab from Whittaker to counter a leg kick. Bit of a one two from Whittaker lands. Adesanya avoids another rush and lands a body kick. Jab from Adesanya lands and he avoids a blitz attack. Adesanya has a read on Whittaker at this point, he’s framing every time he tries to rush and is avoiding all of his power punches. Right from Adesanya wobbles Whittaker. Body shots from Adesanya, Whittaker lands a left hook. Adesanya lands a calf kick. Whittaker lands a jab. Bit of a left hook from Whittaker but Adesanya is rolling with all of these so far. Adesanya avoids a high kick. They trade punches then Adesanya absorbs a head kick. Adesanya avoids a head kick and lands a right. Stiff one two from Whittaker but Adesanya clobbers with with a left hook that drops him and he pounds him out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Middleweight Champion – Israel Adesanya via KO, punches, at 3:33 of Round 2

That was a beautiful finish from Adesanya. Adesanya gives the belt to I think his mother who’s in the cage with him then embraces his family. Mic time for the new champion, he plays a bit with the crowd who seem appreciative. He says he’s petty and remembers being in the nose bleeds for the UFC’s last trip to this stadium and now he made Whittaker’s nose bleed. He says Whittaker did everything he expected and then mocks everyone who said he had no knockout power. Looking at the replay he talks us through the finish, says he doesn’t like to get hit because it’s stupid but can take a shot and give it back. He wants to do something with Marvel, then says an inflated balloon animal Paulo Costa next and he will wreck his face. There’s a few technical issues so I’m missing bits of this, my apologies.

Whittaker gets an interview as well, he puts over Adesanya and jokes he felt he was doing well until he got caught but thinks he’ll see Adesanya again in a fight or two. He says he’s not going anywhere after putting over his family for their support.

Here’s the finishing sequence. The reach issue for Whittaker was evident and it plays in here, Adesanya can just lean back and still land good punches while Whittaker’s are falling short. Beautiful stuff.

Alright everyone, that wraps up UFC 243. A top heavy card but for as long as that main event lasted it was extremely high level MMA. Thanks everyone for being here and reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll break down all of the results from this event Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, if you’ve got a question for the show leave it below. We’ll also preview next weeks UFC on ESPN+ event when the UFC is back in Tampa with a pretty solid top to bottom card with a main event between former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and surging contender Michelle Waterson in a fight with definite title implications for strawweight. I’ll be back next week to cover that card, until then stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC 243, Robert Winfree