UFC 243 delivered as advertised when it came to filling the seats at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
The event set a promotion record for attendance, drawing an announced crowd of 57,127 for a card headlined by a middleweight title unification bout between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. That figure surpasses the previous record, which was also set in Melbourne when 56,214 fans saw Holly Holm shock women’s bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey in the evening’s headliner at UFC 193 in November 2015.
While UFC 243 lacked the depth of the aforementioned UFC 193 lineup, the headliner between Adesanya, a Nigerian-born Kiwi, and Whittaker, who hails from Sydney, was of more interest to the locals. Adesanya would go on to unify the middleweight belts with a second-round stoppage of his opponent, signaling his arrival as one of the biggest stars in the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Other highly-attended events include UFC 129, which had an announced crowd of 55,724 at Rogers Centre in Toronto for a welterweight championship bout between Georges St. Pierre and Jake Shields, and UFC 198 which attracted an audience of 45,207 to Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil, for a heavyweight title tilt pitting Fabricio Werdum against Stipe Miocic.