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UFC 243 Predictions: Whittaker vs. Adesanya

UFC 243 is upon us. The event will be held inside Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Austalia tomorrow night (Oct. 5). Headlining the card will be a middleweight title unification bout between champion Robert Whittaker and interim title holder Israel Adesanya. Taking the co-main event spot will be a 155-pound tilt between Al Iaquinta and Dan Hooker.

MMA News continues to keep you posted on the latest UFC 243 updates. Earlier tonight, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have once again linked up to provide main card predictions for UFC 243.

Take a look at the bouts set for the main card:

  • Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya (ic) – for undisputed middleweight title
  • Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker
  • Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak
  • Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
  • Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro

Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya

Fernando Quiles Jr.: There’s a ton of hype surrounding this fight and for good reason. If Adesanya emerges victorious then the hype train will be going full speed. If Whittaker ices Adesanya, then that train derails fast. Adesanya is easily the most dynamic striker Whittaker has faced since his welterweight bout with Stephen Thompson, and we know how that played out. Whittaker may be in the right weight class this time and has made significant improvements, but I think the pressure will be too much for him. Throw in his inactivity and I actually see an early knockout win for Adesanya to catapult his stardom. (Prediction: Israel Adesanya)

Ed Carbajal: Adesanya climbed up the middleweight rankings pretty fast to get to this fight with Whittaker. While his striking has separated him from a lot of the division, he’s fighting a champion in Whittaker who can dish out a lot of punishment. The same can be said for Adesanya’s last three opponents, which he was able to walk away from as the victor. However, when facing former champion Anderson Silva and number one contender Kelvin Gastelum, (especially Gastelum) he saw more trouble than he has seen in a while. Not a surprise he’s the underdog in this fight. (Prediction: Robert Whittaker)

Andrew Ravens: This is hands down the hardest pick that I will ever have to make for a fight. The biggest difference between these two fighters is activity as Whittaker hasn’t fought since last year while Adesanya has been making a name for himself by earning this title fight opportunity. I think we’re past Adesanya being all hype as he has earned his reputation and I see this being his time. It will be a close fight but as the fight progress, Adesanya pulls ahead. I have Adesanya winning by unanimous decision to win the strap. (Prediction: Israel Adesanya)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Israel Adesanya

Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker

Fernando Quiles Jr.: A lot of people are riding on Dan Hooker going into this bout and I honestly just don’t see it. Hooker has been impressive as of late but when tested against a higher level 155-pounder in Edson Barboza, he just didn’t have the skill level to match. Al Iaquinta may not light up Hooker with kicks, but I think he will pick his strikes wisely and set up takedowns for the unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Al Iaquinta)

Ed Carbajal: At the time of writing this, oddsmakers currently have Iaquinta as the underdog in this fight but that seems odd for the man that went the distance with current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov on short notice. Still, Hooker brings a high finish rate into the fight and with someone like Iaquinta, this makes for an excellent co-main event. Fighting on the other side of the world might work in Hooker’s favor too. (Prediction: Dan Hooker)

Andrew Ravens: Hooker has been flying under the radar as he had a lengthy winning streak before skipping a beat in a loss to Edson Barboza. On the flip side, Al has been on a roller coaster of a ride in his last four fights by going 2-2. I have questions about the direction of Al even though he has fought some of the top names that the division has to offer. Hooker has finished his last six fights and that won’t change here as I see him winning by TKO in the third round. (Prediction: Dan Hooker)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Dan Hooker

Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Sergey Spivak got a rude welcoming to the UFC when he was stopped in 50 seconds by Walt Harris. Fighting Tai Tuivasa in his sophomore effort isn’t exactly softening the blow either. I can’t see Spivak being able to best the UFC-tested Tuivasa in enemy territory. I think this one is a TKO win for Tuivasa. (Prediction: Tai Tuivasa)

Ed Carbajal: Tuivasa has a lot of KO’s and TKO wins in Australia, which likely means the “home-field” advantage he has really lights a fire under him to win. However he lost his last two and one was by TKO at home against Junior Dos Santos in 2018. He needs a win. Spivak is coming off his own loss to Walt Harris last May, which makes this anyone’s fight. Spivak’s last loss was his first ever, and first fight in the UFC. Tuivasa has a lot on his side in this fight. (Prediction: Tai Tuivasa)

Andrew Ravens: Both fighters have hit a wall in their previous fights. I have to side with Spivak, who appears to have more upside despite losing his only fight in the UFC. Perhaps it was just Octagon jitters but I see him coming out and making a statement in the way of a KO victory in the first round. (Prediction: Sergey Spivak)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Tai Tuivasa

Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima

Fernando Quiles Jr.: Dhiego Lima thinks he’s got an edge on the ground over Luke Jumeau. In his career, Jumeau has been submitted twice, once by guillotine choke and another by rear-naked choke. Lima’s lone submission loss was against Jesse Taylor, who is known for his slick ground skills. I believe Jumeau will avoid being finished but I see Lima having enough key moments in the grappling department to nab a decision victory. (Prediction: Dhiego Lima)

Ed Carbajal: Jumeau is 2-1 in the UFC and coming off a win from UFC 221 and him being the local fighter in the match may be his advantage. However, Lima is a seasoned veteran who has held the Titan FC welterweight title, and is the brother of two-time Bellator welterweight champion, Douglas Lima. It’s hard to pick against Lima’s experience in this fight. (Prediction: Dhiego Lima)

Andrew Ravens: This is an interesting fight for both fighters as it appears that Lima has turned things around with two straight wins while Jumeau has been on a roll by winning 7 out of his last 8 fights with his only loss in that span coming to Shinsho Anzai. I have Lima winning by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Dhiego Lima)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Dhiego Lima

Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro

Fernando Quiles Jr.: These two heavyweights know how to slug it out early in their careers. Yorgan De Castro had to deal with some adversity in the amateur ranks, going 3-4. One of those bouts was a Muay Thai contest. Since going pro, De Castro has gone 5-0. I’m gonna lean towards De Castro for the experience edge. (Prediction: Yorgan De Castro).

Ed Carbajal: It should be no surprise that these two fighters, both undefeated and both touting high knockout rates in their young MMA records got bumped up to the main card. It is also very telling of what to expect at UFC 243. They could look to end it early by firing off strikes at each other, or one fighter may choose to test the other on the ground and look to add a submission win to their record. One thing is for sure, one fighter will suffer their first loss on this pay-per-view. Leaning towards De Castro just because of the slight experience advantage he may have. (Prediction: Yorgan De Castro)

Andrew Ravens: A battle of the young lions and two fighters that are unknown to most fight fans. With both fighters being undefeated and never making the walk to the Octagon, it should make for an interesting fight. This bout should end in fireworks as they’re both known as finishers. I have De Castro winning by first-round TKO purely due to him having more experience. (Prediction: Yorgan De Castro)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Yorgan De Castro

That’ll do it for the UFC 243 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 243.

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