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UFC 293 set as Australia return in September, middleweight title fight targeted as headliner

MMA: APR 08 UFC 287 Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is headed back down under for the second time in 2023.

UFC President, Dana White, announced today (Weds., May 17, 2023) that Sydney, Australia will play host to UFC 293 on Sept. 10, 2023 (Sept. 9 in the United States). The promotion last held an event in the county earlier in the year (Feb. 2023) with UFC 284 in Perth, featuring the big champion vs. champion Lightweight title tilt between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski. White also announced that the promotion struck a new multi-year deal with the city to host three pay-per-view (PPV) events from now to 2027.

No fights have been booked for the event as of yet, but the plan is for the Middleweight title to hold the main event spot, according to Fox Sports Australia. Therefore, the champion, Israel Adesanya, would defend against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis, which goes down on July 8, 2023, at UFC 290 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“It doesn’t have to be Rob. It can be someone else,” Adesanya told Fox Sports Australia, regarding potentially headlining his third event in Australia. “I want to do one more stadium fight in Australia. Fight in Oceania again. That way all the Kiwis who want to watch me can fly over and make it a show, just like they did last time [in 2019] because I’m not going to fight in New Zealand. That dream’s dead because of the way they treated Dan Hooker and my team.”

Ideally for Australian fight fans, an Adesanya vs. Whittaker trilogy fight would presumably be a dream come true. In his 14-fight stretch at 185 pounds, the former titleholder, Whittaker, has only been bested by “The Last Stylebender” and still has redemption on his mind.

For the champion, he’s made it clear he’s rooting against Whittaker against his upcoming opponent, du Plessis. Not because of anything personal toward “The Reaper,” but more South Africa’s surging “Stillknocks,” after some back-and-forths shared in recent months.

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