MELBOURNE, Australia — Interim champion Israel Adesanya has dethroned UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker with a stunning knockout in the second round of their highly anticipated 185-pound unification bout which headlined UFC 243 at Melbourne's Docklands Stadium.
New Zealand-based, Nigerian-born Adesanya landed a right hook which floored Whittaker in the final seconds of the first round and ended the fight in the second of the five-round contest with a left hook.
It was New Zealand-born Australian Whittaker's first fight since June 2018 in Chicago. The 28-year-old Whittaker was scheduled to fight in February but withdrew due to emergency bowel surgery.
Whittaker's UFC world-title defense was the first by an Australian.
Adesanya, 30, has improved his UFC record to 7-0.