The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 243 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
Can Israel Adesanya take out an opponent as tough as Robert Whittaker? Does Adesanya really have what it takes to be crowned champ? So many questions had been raised even before this match was announced. On Oct. 5, the questions will be answered when the two champions step inside the Octagon to unify the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight belts. Let the numbers below show why this UFC 243 headliner is easily one of the year’s most exciting fights.
Active winning streakWhittaker's winning run is impressive, but it doesn't compare to Adesanya's, at least in the number of consecutive victories. Since losing to Stephen Thompson at UFC 176, Whittaker has been flawless, raking in nine wins without a blemish. Adesanya, on the other hand, is still undefeated in 17 professional fights.
Depth tells a different story, though. While Adesanya's first taste of a ranked opponent came in 2018 when he met Brad Tavares, Whittaker has been at it for a lot longer and at a much higher level. Apart from Thompson, other notable opponents on his resume include Yoel Romero, Ronaldo Souza, Derek Brunson and Uriah Hall.
Road to the titleAdesanya needed only six Octagon fights to get ahold of the middleweight belt. After Tavares, he beat Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva to set the stage for a showdown with Kelvin Gastelum for the interim title. Of course, that highly competitive bout was won by Adesanya.
Whittaker, for his part, took a much longer route. On his way to the title, he had to go through 12 matches, of which he won nine. Ultimately, he captured the interim middleweight strap by beating Yoel Romero. Later on, he was promoted to undisputed champion when Georges St. Pierre vacated the title that he took from Michael Bisping in 2017.
Post-fight bonusesAdesanya's diversified striking has gotten him to the title stage. It's also the main reason he's earned three Performance of the Night (versus Brunson, Tavares and Rob Wilkinson) and two Fight of the Night (versus Silva and Gastelum) bonuses. The only time he didn't get a post-fight bonus in the UFC was at UFC on Fox 29 when he took a split decision victory over Marvin Vettori.
After 12 bouts inside the Octagon, Whittaker has earned four Fight of the Night (versus Romero twice, Brunson and Clint Hester) and three Performance of the Night (versus Souza, Brunson and Tavares) citations.