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UFC in Australia: Ranking every pay-per-view event ahead of UFC 284

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The eyes of the MMA world will turn to Perth this week as Alex Volkanovski attempts to cement his place in history when he challenges Islam Makhachev for the UFC lightweight title.

Volkanovski’s rise to the top has coincided with the growing popularity of the sport in Australia.

MMA has exploded in this country since the UFC’s first Australian event back in 2010.

UFC 284 will represent the seventh pay-per-view event for the company in Australia, but how does it compare to the others?

We’ve compiled our rankings of all seven UFC PPVs in Australia, primarily based on the strength of the card but also factoring in things like historical significance.

7. UFC 127

February 27, 2011 at Acer Arena, Sydney

It was the UFC’s second visit to Australia and while the tickets may have sold out in a flash, the card wasn’t exactly spectacular.

B.J. Penn had been a superstar but he was well and truly on the decline when he and Jon Fitch fought to a draw in the main event in Sydney.

Beyond that, we got a signature walkoff knockout from Mark Hunt on Chris Tuchsherer, Michael Bisping stopping Jorge Rivera in round two and future light-heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson submitting James Te Huna.

Anthony Perosh and Kyle Noke scored victories to get the Aussie fans on their feet but, all in all, this event wasn’t exactly box office stuff.

Fight card

  • B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch (Draw)
  • Michael Bisping def. Jorge Rivera
  • Dennis Siver def. George Sotiropoulos
  • Brian Ebersole def. Chris Lytle
  • Kyle Noke def. Chris Camozzi
  • Ross Pearson def. Spencer Fisher
  • Alexande Gustafsson def. James Te Huna
  • Nick Ring def. Riki Fukuda
  • Anthony Perosh def. Tom Blackledge
  • Zhang Tiequan def. Jason Reinhardt
  • Mark Hunt def. Chris Tuchsherer
  • Curt Warburton def. Maciej Jewtuszko

6. UFC 234 

February 10, 2019 at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

We actually almost forgot about this one and it’s not hard to see why.

Robert Whittaker was due to face Kelvin Gastelum in the headliner but pulled out hours before the event, requiring emergency surgery.

That left Israel Adesanya’s clash with former champion and UFC great Anderson Silva at the top of the card.

Adesanya won an entertaining unanimous decision but beyond that, there really wasn’t much to write home about.

With all due respect to Lando Vannata and Marcos Rosa Mariano, they’re not exactly pay-per-view co-main event material

Earlier, Jimmy Crute gave Sam Alvey a good hiding and Kai Kara-France scored a split decision win over Raulian Paiva.

Fight card

  • Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva
  • Lando Vannata def. Marcos Rosa Mariano
  • Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya
  • Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem
  • Jimmy Crute def. Sam Alvey
  • Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma
  • Shane Young def. Austin Arnett
  • Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva
  • Kang Kyung-ho def. Teruto Ishihara
  • Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter
  • Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren

5. UFC 243

October 6, 2019 at Marvel Stadium, Melbourne

An Aussie card which definitely falls into the top heavy category.

The UFC made the logical decision to pit the Australian middleweight champ against the Kiwi interim champ in a big stadium show and it paid off, with 57,127 fans turning up for the blockbuster, a record which stands to this day.

Unfortunately for the Aussie fans, their man Robert Whittaker was stopped in the second round, seeing Israel Adesanya begin his reign at 185-lbs.

The rest of the card lacked starpower, it must be said.

Dan Hooker scored a dominant decision victory over Al Iaquinta, Tai Tuivasa was submitted by Sergey Spivac, Jake Matthews got a W, and Brad Riddell defeated Jamie Mullarkey to see the Kiwis go home 2-0 against Australians.

Fight card

  • Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker
  • Dan Hooker def. Al Iaquinta
  • Sergey Spivac def. Tai Tuivasa
  • Dhiego Lima def. Luke Jumeau
  • Yorgan De Castro def. Justin Tafa
  • Jake Matthews def. Rostem Akman
  • Callan Potter def. Maki Pitolo
  • Brad Riddell def. Jamie Mullarkey
  • Megan Anderson def. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos
  • Ji Yeon Kim def. Nadia Kassem
  • Khalid Taha def. Gustabo da Silva

4. UFC 110

February 21, 2010 at Acer Arena, Sydney

The first-ever UFC event in Australia and, with the local talent not quite as deep as it is today, there were plenty of internationals on the card.

With no title on line, a heavyweight clash between Cain Velasquez and former interim champ Antônio “Big Nog” Nogueira headlined.

Velasquez, at his preferred elevation of sea level, scored a first-round knockout victory. He’d go on to do the same to Brock Lesnar and claim the title in his next fight.

Meanwhile, former Pride middleweight champ Wanderlei Silva defeated future UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping via unanimous decision.

Flying the flag for the ANZACs were George Sotiropoulos, who defeated Joe Stevenson; Anthony Perosh, who lost to combat sports icon Cro Cop via doctor stoppage and James Te Huna, who knocked Igor Pokrajac out in the third round.

Fight card

  • Cain Velasquez def. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira
  • Wanderlei Silva def. Michael Bisping
  • George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Stevenson
  • Ryan Bader def. Keith Jardine
  • Mirko Cro Cop def. Anthony Perosh
  • Krzysztof Soszynski def. Stephan Bonnar
  • Chris Lytle def. Brian Foster
  • C.B. Dollaway def. Goran Reljic
  • James Te Huna def. Igor Pokrajac

3. UFC 221

February 11, 2018 at Perth Arena

This event getting a spot on the podium might surprise some people, but this card has aged particularly well.

The initial disappointment of Robert Whittaker’s withdrawal meant we got Yoel Romero taking on Luke Rockhold in the main event.

For those who forget how that turned out, don’t ask Rockhold – he won’t remember.

The terrifying Cuban dropped Rockhold with a left hand before going full Marge Simpson with the follow-up.

Then came the unforgettable post-fight moment in which Romero planted a tender kiss on Rockhold’s bloodied face while telling him he loved him.

Prior to that though, we’d seen the arrival of some future stars, with the UFC debut of Israel Adesanya, as well as the first pay-per-view appearances of Alex Volkanovski and Tai Tuivasa.

Mark Hunt was also on the wrong end of some strong wrasslin by Curtis Blaydes.

Fight card

  • Yoel Romero def. Luke Rockhold
  • Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt
  • Tai Tuivasa def. Cyril Asker
  • Jake Matthews def. Li Jingliang
  • Tyson Pedro def. Saparbek Safarov
  • Dong Hyun Ma def. Damien Brown
  • Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson
  • Alex Volkanovski def. Jeremy Kennedy
  • Jussier Formida def. Ben Nguyen
  • Ross Pearson def. Mizuto Hirota
  • Jose Alberto Quinonez def. Teruto Ishihara
  • Luke Jumeau def. Daichi Abe

2. UFC 284

February 12, 2023 at RAC Arena, Perth

It’s not a stretch to say this card is pretty damn top heavy.

In saying that, the headliner is about as heavy as you can get, with the top two in the pound-for-pound rankings facing off, a first in UFC history.

Can Australia’s Alex Volkanovski blow the roof off the RAC Arena with an upset victory over Islam Makhachev? If he does, this card may well find itself at the top of similar lists in the future.

In the co-main, Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez will fight it out for the interim featherweight title while 145-lb champ Volkanovski chases bigger fish.

It’s a compelling match up but it hasn’t got a patch on the main event.

As for the rest of the card, the absence of Australian stars Robert Whittaker and Tai Tuivasa is definitely a let down.

Hometown boy Jack Della Maddalena could well become a star of the welterweight division, while featherweight Jack Jenkins will be looking to put on a show in his UFC debut.

Fight card

  • Alex Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev
  • Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett
  • Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
  • Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
  • Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
  • Josh Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
  • Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
  • Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
  • Loma Lookboonme vs. Elise Reed
  • Shane Young vs. Blake Bilder
  • Zubhaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner

1. UFC 193

November 14, 2018 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

No other event on this list can lay claim to having hosted one of the most iconic moments in UFC history, so for that reason, UFC 193 at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium takes out the top spot.

Few who saw it live or since can forget the image of a stiff Ronda Rousey, up to that point an unbeaten, dominant superstar of the sport, crashing to the mat, having been finished off by a Holly Holm head kick after nine minutes of being, in the words of Joe Rogan, “smashed” by the 9-1 underdog.

That it happened in front of 56,214 fans, a then-record for the organisation, was the cherry on top.

In the co-main event, Joanna Jędrzejczyk defended her strawweight title for the second time with a dominant decision win over Valérie Létourneau.

Further down the card, Mark Hunt added another stoppage win to his collection, knocking Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva out in the first round of their rematch, while Robert Whittaker’s middleweight credentials were given a boost when he comfortably defeated Uriah Hall.

Fight card

  • Holly Holm def. Ronda Rousey
  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk def. Valérie Létourneau
  • Mark Hunt def. Antonio Silva
  • Robert Whittaker def. Uriah Hall
  • Jared Rosholt def. Stefan Struve
  • Jake Matthews def. Arkbarh Arreola
  • Kyle Noke def. Peter Sobotta
  • Gian Villante def. Anthony Perosh
  • Danny Martinez def. Richie Vaculik
  • Dan Kelly def. Steve Montgomery
  • Richard Walsh def. Steve Kennedy
  • James Moontasri def. Anton Zafir
  • Ben Nguyen def. Ryan Benoit


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