UFC 243 Results: Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker Highlight Card's Biggest Winners

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06:  (L-R) Israel Adesanya of Nigeria punches Robert Whittaker of New Zealand in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 243 event at Marvel Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Israel Adesanya was far and away the biggest winner of Saturday's UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia. The Last Stylebender emerged as a superstar with an impressive second-round TKO win over Robert Whittaker to become the undisputed middleweight titleholder. 

Adesanya's length and range turned out to be the deciding factor. 

Whittaker's attempts to close the distance with his rangy opponent involved a lot of lunging with hooks and getting caught with the counters. While the champion had his moments, the interim champ consistently came back with his own strikes that left Whittaker more and more desperate. 

It didn't take long for Adesanya to capitalize. 

The win is the crowning achievement of one of the most impressive openings to a UFC career. Adesanya has only been fighting in the organization since February 2018, but he's already climbed the ladder of an extremely talented division. 

It was a shocking end to a night of entertaining fights. The Australian crowd might not have loved the results, though. It turned out to be a disappointing event for the likes of Tai Tuivasa and Justin Tafa, but a big one for lightweight Dan Hooker. 

                

Main card

  • Israel Adesanya defeats Robert Whittaker via second-round TKO (3:33) 
  • Dan Hooker defeats Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision 
  • Serghei Spivac defeats Tai Tuivasa via submission (arm triangle) (R2, 3:14) 
  • Dhiego Lima defeats Luke Jumeau via split decision 
  • Yorgan de Castro defeats Justin Tafa via first-round KO (2:10) 

              

Undercard

  • Jake Matthews defeats Rostem Akman via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
  • Callan Potter defeats Maki Pitolo via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
  • Brad Riddell defeats Jamie Mullarkey via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)
  • Megan Anderson defeats Zarah Fairn dos Santos via sub (triangle choke) (R1, 3:57)
  • Ji Yeon Kim defeats Nadia Kassem via second-round TKO (4:59)
  • Khalid Taha defeats Bruno Silva via submission (arm triangle) (R3, 3:00)

             

Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker

Dan Hooker finally gave the Australian fans something to cheer for on the main card as he cruised to a unanimous-decision win over Al Iaquinta. 

Iaquinta was fortunate to get out of the first round. Hooker couldn't have asked for a better start; he was able to land meaningful strikes on the feet and nearly finished the bout on the ground when he took Iaquinta's back. 

As the fight wore on, it was clear Hooker's reach advantage would be too much for Iaquinta to overcome. The latter struggled to close the distance against the taller opponent and often found himself on the wrong side of Hooker's punches and kicks when he was attempting to get into range. 

It was an impressive striking clinic for Hooker and the biggest win of his career. 

Hooker has been on a tear, winning five of his last six fights coming into this one, with all five coming by way of KO or submission. Picking up a win over a name like Iaquinta should be enough to set him up with a much bigger opponent down the line. 

                

Tai Tuivasa vs. Sergey Spivak

What seemed like a sure bet for fan favorite Tai Tuivasa turned into a nightmare against Sergey Spivak. The Moldovan heavyweight stunned Tuivasa with a second-round submission win. 

Tuivasa showcased his power early, scoring a knockdown on a simple leg kick, but Spivak foreshadowed some of the trouble the big man would have on the ground with an impressive toss:

Spivak would carry that ground success to the second round. The Polar Bear looked for the takedown and went to work with ground-and-pound. With Tuivasa neutralized on the ground, the underdog looked for a submission and found it:

This was an incredibly disappointing turn of events for Tuiavasa. He went from earning a shot against Junior dos Santos as an undefeated prospect with a lot of promise to the loser of three straight fights. 

He'll likely continue to be a draw when the UFC heads to Australia. Four of his fights with the organization have been Down Under, but the hope that he would become anything more than that will continue to fall flat if he can't figure out how to defend a quality grappler. 

            

Dhiego Lima vs. Luke Jumeau

Dhiego Lima isn't likely to win any popularity contests in Australia, as the Brazilian leg-kicked his way to a split-decision win over New Zealand native Luke Jumeau in welterweight action. 

Lima is known as a strong grappler, but Jumeau did a nice job of keeping the fight standing. 

Unfortunately for him, that's about all he did well as Lima spent much of the time controlling the distance and pace of the fight. The Brazilian chewed up the lead leg with kicks aplenty but didn't do much else in a ho-hum affair. 

One judge did score the bout for Jumeau, which was a bit of a head-scratcher:

This was one of those bouts where neither fighter really won because it isn't likely that anyone will remember the matchup a week after it happened.  

            

Yorgan de Castro vs. Justin Tafa

Yorgan de Castro just keeps beating the odds. The 32-year-old wasn't expected to make the UFC roster with his performance on Dana White's Contender Series, but a brutal leg-kick finish allowed him to defy that notion. 

He also wasn't expected to beat Justin Tafa on his home turf, but he changed that with a thunderous right hand in the first round.

De Castro made a case for knockout of the night after an uneventful buildup. 

Still, he has a long way to go before he gets anywhere near the top of the heavyweight division. This fight was set for the prelims until a bout between Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington was canceled.

De Castro made the best of a fortunate situation and should get another opportunity soon after making it out of this one relatively unscathed.      

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