Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium is set to host UFC 243: Whitaker vs Adesanya, in what could be the biggest crowd in UFC and Australian history.
Despite the event being held on the same day as Sydney’s NRL Grand Final, UFC officials are anticipating a sold-out event at Marvel’s 60,000 seat stadium and if the fight draws close to that number, the 28-year-old will effectively prove himself the greatest draw in Australian fight history — surpassing the likes of Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tszyu, Jeff Horn and Anthony Mundine.
Australia’s first UFC champion, middleweight Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker, will defend his 185-pound belt against interim titleholder, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, in a five-round championship bout.
UFC 243 will mark the first title defence on home soil for Whittaker who was forced to withdraw from his UFC 234 clash with American Kelvin Gastelumin in February this year after being rushed to hospital with a collapsed and twisted bowel.
“This is the perfect fight at the perfect time with the two best athletes in the division,” UFC President, Dana White, said.
“I am pumped to go back to Melbourne for this massive event.
“To have two champions in Whittaker and Adesanya fighting for the title on home turf is huge.
“This will be the biggest fight in Australian history.”
Marvel Stadium, formerly Etihad Stadium, currently holds the record for the largest MMA event in UFC history, with 56,214 in attendance at UFC 193: ROUSEY vs. HOLM on November 15, 2015, featuring female pioneer and UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey.
Marvel Stadium CEO, Michael Green said: “We are delighted to host UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium.
“To host an international sporting event of this calibre is a great testament to the diversity and versatility of the stadium.”
UFC 243 will be hosted at Marvel Stadium on October 6 2019.