Wednesday, May 18, 2022

5 greatest UFC fights to take place in Australia

Next weekend sees arguably the UFC’s biggest Australian star Robert Whittaker clash with Nigerian-New Zealander Israel Adesanya in a rematch for the middleweight title. Because of fighters like these two, the promotion has now grown immeasurably in Australasia.

The UFC has visited Australia on 15 occasions in the past. Fans Down Under have been treated to some truly classic fights at those events.

With major title changes, huge upsets and back-and-forth wars, Australia has played host to some true classics since its first show in 2010. The winner of next weekend’s title bout will hope to headline another there in the future.

Before that, though, here are five of the greatest UFC fights to take place in Australia.


#5. Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall – UFC on FX 2

Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson kickstarted the flyweight division with a bang in 2012
Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson kickstarted the flyweight division with a bang in 2012

When the UFC decided to introduce a flyweight division to their roster in early 2012, many fans were intrigued. However, plenty of others had doubts over whether such small fighters could put on entertaining bouts.

Those fears were quickly quashed when the first two flyweight fights, booked for the promotion’s first visit to Australia that year, delivered some hugely entertaining action. However, it was the clash between eventual champion Demetrious Johnson and the highly-rated Ian McCall that really stood out.

50K to Johnson/McCall FOTN, Joe B Ko of Night; SOTN Kampmann

Showing off the kind of speed never displayed inside the octagon before, the two men went strike-for-strike and takedown-for-takedown from the start of the fight, never letting up on the frenetic pace for a second.

The first round was practically impossible to split, while the second round saw ‘Mighty Mouse’ take over slightly, landing the better strikes on McCall and working him over with kicks to the legs and the body.

However, in the third round, ‘Uncle Creepy’ turned the tide entirely. After delivering a slam to the future champion, he secured a back mount and began to smash Johnson with elbows and punches. ‘Mighty Mouse’ was able to escape, but only momentarily, as McCall then grounded him again and went to town for a second time.

Realistically, referee John Sharp probably should’ve stopped the fight there. Instead, he felt that McCall hadn’t done quite enough and so the clash went to the judges.

A curious thing then happened, as Johnson was declared the winner in an outright bizarre split decision, only for it to be revealed later that the scorecards had been miscalculated and the fight had actually been declared a draw.

The two men rematched four months later, with Johnson winning a much clearer decision. However, the fight didn’t live up to this initial encounter, which still stands as not only one of the best flyweight bouts of all time, but one of the best in Australia, too.

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