All eyes are on Melbourne, Australia as middleweights Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya prepare to unify the title in the main event of UFC 243 in front of their home crowd.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS (6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)
KHALID TAHA (13-2-0) VS. BRUNO SILVA (10-3-2)
Andrews: Taha missed weight, but should win with the weight, six and experience advantages.
Andrews Prediction: Khalid Taha via UD
NADIA KASSEM (5-1-0) VS. JI YEON KIM (8-2-2)
Andrews: It didn’t look good when Kim was immediately wheeled out with a towel. Kim missed weight and will lose the bout as well.
Andrews Prediction: Nadia Kassem via UD
BRAD RIDDELL (5-1-0) VS. JAMIE MULLARKEY (8-2-0)
Andrews: Mullarkey comes in with to two TKO losses. I have to go with The Riddeller.
Andrews Prediction: Brad Riddell via UD
MEGAN ANDERSON (9-4-0) VS. ZARAH FAIRN DOS SANTOS (6-2-0)
Andrews: Anderson has a huge experience advantage, but was exposed on the ground by a rookie Felicia Spencer. Dos Santos will probably try to get the fight to the ground, but Anderson should rebound on her home court.
Andrews Prediction: Megan Anderson via UD
MAKI PITOLO (11-4-0) VS. CALIAN POTTER (17-8-0)
Andrews: “The Rock Star” will perform in front of his home crowd.
Andrews Prediction: Calian Potter via submission
YORGAN DE CASTRO (5-0-0) VS. JUSTIN TAFA (3-0-0)
Andrews: Both fighters are making their octagon debut. About the only hunch here is: Don’t blink. Going with Justin Tafa.
Andrews Prediction: Justin Tafa via TKO
JAKE MATTHEWS (14-4-0) VS. ROSTEM AKMAN (6-1-0)
Andrews: Matthews has been in the UFC for five years and is only 25 years old! His experience advantage should seem through if he can avoid the big shot.
Andrews Prediction: Jake Matthews via UD
LUKE JUMEAU (13-4-0) VS. DHIEGO LIMA (14-7-0)
Andrews: Lima has been in the UFC for over five years which is impressive. He has a two fight win streak, but is taking on a competent fighter on his own home turf. Have to take the home fighter.
Andrews Prediction: Luke Jumeau via UD
#14 TAI TUIVASA (8-2-0) VS. SERGHEI SPIVAK (9-1-0)
Andrews: Tuivasa needs a win badly and if he can take a page from Walt Harris, he will have it. Spivak looked a little bewildered at the weigh-ins.
Andrews Prediction: Tai Tuivasa via TKO
#6 AL IAQUINTA (14-5-1) VS. #15 DAN HOOKER (18-8-0)
Andrews: Iaquinta is a tough son of a gun but I think good striker is his weakness. If Hooker can pile up the points and avoid the takedown, he should get the upset win.
Andrews Prediction: Dan Hooker via TKO
ROBERT WHITTAKER (20-4-0) VS. #1 ISRAEL ADESANYA (17-0-0)
Andrews: Can Adesanya hurt Whittaker to the body? Can he avoid the ground? Those are the questions as Whittaker has taken out good strikers and ground fighters before in Romero and Jacare. But Adesanya is an excellent striker. Also, has Whittaker fully recovered from his previous injuries? Adesanya has also never fought anyone the calibre of Whittaker and an aged Anderson Silva doesn’t count, though Gastelum is close. The experience of Whittaker should see him through some nervous moments.
Andrews Prediction: Robert Whittaker via UD