UFC 305 announced for Perth, Israel Adesanya vs Dricus du Plessis could headline, Aussie fighters on card


A blockbuster UFC grudge match between Dricus du Plessis and Israel Adesanya is being discussed for Australia after it was confirmed UFC 305 will be held in Perth on Sunday, August 18.

A host of local fighters will also be jostling for a spot on the huge Pay-Per-View event at RAC Arena, however Robert Whittaker will be a surprise omission after UFC CEO Dana White announced on Thursday that he will be headlining a Saudi Arabian card against Khamzat Chimaev on Saturday, June 22.

In huge news for Australian fight fans, the UFC announced its latest return Down Under at a Thursday press conference in Perth.

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It was also revealed the company has struck a two-event deal with the West Australian Government, with the second card set to be a Fight Night event held, most likely, in 2025.

While no bouts were announced during the reveal, Fox Sports Australia understands one of several headliners being discussed involves South Africa’s middleweight champ Du Plessis and Adesanya.

The event represents one of the most anticipated matches anywhere on the UFC roster given the highly publicised bad blood already existing between the two.

The pair have been feuding ever since Du Plessis claimed he was the “true” African fighter, alluding to Adesanya, who was born in Nigeria, having grown up in New Zealand.

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

“I’m going to take a belt to Africa.”

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

“Myself and Cameron (Saaiman); we breathe African air.

“We wake up in Africa every day.

“We train in Africa, we’re African born, we’re African raised. We still reside in Africa, we train out of Africa.”

Adesanya would later have a highly publicised confrontation with Du Plessis before threatening, among other things, to “drag his carcass around South Africa”.

Speaking with Fox Sports Australia recently, Whittaker also expressed his interest in wanting an August showcase in Perth, a city where he has twice been forced off massive cards due to injury.

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

Local boys Steve Erceg and Jack Della Maddalena would also be locks for the event, although both are currently confronted with separate, and widely varying, issues.

While Erceg is set to face UFC flyweight champ Alexandre Pantoja in Brazil this May at UFC 301, JDM is only just out of surgery after fighting, and winning, against Gilbert Burns with a broken forearm.

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

After five years fighting UFC bangers abroad, The Reaper was keen to be on the card set for Perth’s RAC Arena – where he was initially set to headline six years ago against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221.

Whittaker was also forced out of last year’s UFC 284 card in Perth, where the headliner saw Alexander Volkanovski lose an absolute barnburner against UFC lightweight king Islam Makhachev.

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

Speaking shortly after the Costa win, Whittaker told us of his future: “My trajectory, it’s going upwards.

“I want that UFC title back.

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

“But I also understand that’s not how things work sometimes. I never shy away from hard work, either.

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

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

Asked about a potential eliminator with Sean Strickland, he added: “I don’t hate that fight.

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

“Although I’m certainly not downplaying Strickland’s ability.

“You give that guy an inch too, he takes a mile. But I like that fight.”

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As part of the announcement on Thursday, WA premier Roger Cook praised the UFC’s return to his State as “a major coup” following the “roaring success” of UFC 284, which injected an estimated $42.8 million into the economy.

“UFC has proven to be a huge drawcard with a dedicated fan base, and we expect to see thousands of out-of-state visitors travel to Perth to attend this blockbuster,” he said.

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

“UFC in this region goes from strength to strength; from our amazing roster of talent to record-breaking events across the country, it’s only getting better.”

Originally published as Aussie city to host UFC 305, grudge match firms amid surprise Whittaker snub

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