Sports

Australian city to host UFC 305, angers match companies amid surprise Rob Whittaker snub

For Australia, a blockbuster UFC grudge match between Dricus du Plessis and Israel Adesanya is being discussed after it was confirmed UFC 305 will take place in Perth on Sunday, August 18.

A number of local fighters will also be vying for a spot at the huge pay-per-view event at the RAC Arena, but Robert Whittaker will be a surprise absence after UFC CEO Dana White announced on Thursday that he would be headlining a Saudi Arabian event The card will be played against Khamzat Chimaev on Saturday, June 22nd.

Big news for Australian fight fans was the announcement of the UFC’s recent return Down Under at a press conference in Perth on Thursday.

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It was also announced that the company has secured a two-event deal with the Western Australian government, with the second card set to be a Fight Night event most likely to take place in 2025.

While no fights were announced at the unveiling, Fox Sports Australia understands one of the several headliners discussed is South African middleweight champion Du Plessis and Adesanya.

The event represents one of the most anticipated matches ever on the UFC roster, with bloodbath already rife between the two.

The two have been feuding since Du Plessis claimed he was the “real” African fighter, referring to Adesanya, who was born in Nigeria and raised in New Zealand.

“Did these belts ever go to Africa?” DDP famously asked about Adesanya’s middleweight belt. “As far as I know they came to America and New Zealand.

“I will take a belt to Africa.”

He also said: “I am the African fighter in the UFC.

“Me and Cameron (Saaiman); We breathe African air.

“We wake up every day in Africa.

“We train in Africa, we were born and raised in Africa. We still live in Africa, we train from Africa.”

Adesanya later had a highly publicized confrontation with Du Plessis before threatening, among other things, to “drag his body across South Africa.”

In a recent conversation with Fox Sports Australia, Whittaker also expressed his interest in appearing in Perth in August, a city where injury twice forced him out of massive card games.

However, he is now traveling to the Middle East for his next fight.

Local boys Steve Erceg and Jack Della Maddalena would also be scheduled for the event, although both are currently facing different and very different issues.

While Erceg faces UFC flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 in Brazil this May, JDM is fresh out of surgery after fighting and winning against Gilbert Burns with a broken forearm.

Back in February, Whittaker revealed that his team had begun discussions about a fight on home soil back in August following his incredible win over Brazilian Paulo Costa at UFC 298.

After five years of fighting UFC heavy hitters overseas, The Reaper was keen to be on the card at the RAC Arena in Perth – where he was originally slated to headline against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 six years ago.

Whittaker was also forced off the UFC 284 card in Perth last year, which headlined Alexander Volkanovski’s loss to UFC lightweight king Islam Makhachev in an absolute tour de force.

Instead, he will face Chimaev two months earlier to find out who will be the No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight title.

Shortly after the Costa win, Whittaker told us about his future: “My trajectory is upwards.

“I want that UFC title back.

“And since Dricus Du Plessis now has the belt, I think it makes perfect sense to fight back.

“But I also understand that sometimes things don’t work that way. I also never shy away from hard work.

“I think there could be an Australian card in August so I’m preparing for that. The timing is perfect.

“My management has put this on my radar and I don’t want to miss this opportunity.”

When asked about a possible eliminator with Sean Strickland, he added: “I don’t hate that fight.

“And when it happens, I know my aggression will get me where I need to be.

“Although I certainly don’t want to downplay Strickland’s abilities.

“Give this guy an inch too, he needs a mile. But I like this fight.”

Tai Tuivasa gets caught in Marcin Tybura's chokehold

Making the announcement on Thursday, WA Premier Roger Cook hailed the UFC’s return to his state as a “major coup” following the “huge success” of UFC 284, which brought an estimated $42.8 million into the economy.

“UFC has proven to be a big draw with a dedicated fan base and we expect thousands of visitors from other states to travel to Perth to watch this blockbuster,” he said.

Peter Kloczko, UFC Vice President Australia and New Zealand, added: “We are thrilled to be returning to Perth for two exciting UFC events over the next few years.

“UFC in this region is getting stronger; From our fantastic roster of talent to record-breaking events across the country, it just keeps getting better.”

Originally published as Australian city hosts UFC 305, angers gaming operations over Whittaker’s surprise snub

Read related topics:Perth

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