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UFC 243 Whittaker vs. Adesanya: Start time, how to watch or stream and full fight card

Perhaps the most exciting style match-up of the year is about to happen. Here's what you need to know.

UFC Seasonal Press Conference

UFC 243 could be hosting a potential fight of the year candidate.

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC 243 is about to begin and it's going to be a humdinger. 

In one corner you have Robert Whittaker. The spreadsheet using gamer with lightning fast hands and an all-round game that has many calling him the new George St Pierre. In the other corner you have Israel Adesanya. The sublime striker with feints for days and sniper-like accuracy we haven't seen since the days of Anderson Silva in his prime.

Remember that long dreamed of superfight between Silva and GSP? Well, this is as close as we're ever going to get. With next-generation athletes loaded with next-generation skill-sets, in Whittaker vs. Adesanya UFC 243 has a main event that sits on the absolute cutting edge of what's possible in MMA. 

How to watch

This year the UFC entered a new partnership with ESPN. That's great news for the UFC and the expansion of the sport of MMA, bad news for consumer choice. If you live in the US especially.

Note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy any services linked via our site.  

In the US, you can only watch UFC 243 on PPV through ESPN+. If you already have an ESPN+ subscription you can buy the event for $60

MMA fans in the UK can watch UFC 243 exclusively through BT Sport. There are more options if you live in Australia. You can watch UFC 243 through Main Event on Foxtel. You can also watch on the UFC website or using its app. You can even order using your PlayStation 4 or using the UFC app on your Xbox One.

Start time

This event takes place in Melbourne, Australia so you might expect some weird start times. Not so. UFC 243's main card starts early on Australian soil, meaning it will be very friendly to folks in the US. It takes place on Saturday October 5 in the US.

Here are the times by region.

United States

The Main Card starts at 10 p.m. (ET)

The Prelims start at 8 p.m. (ET)

The Early Prelims start at 6.15 p.m. (ET)

United Kingdom

(Note that in Australia UFC 243 runs through into Sunday October 6.)

The Main Card starts at 3 a.m. (BST)

The Prelims start at 1 a.m. (BST)

The Early Prelims start at 11.15 p.m. (BST)

Australia

(Note in Australia UFC 243 starts on Sunday, October 6.) 

The Main Card starts at 1 p.m. (AEST)

The Prelims start at 11 a.m. (AEST)

The Early Prelims start at 9.15 a.m. (AEST)

Who's fighting

UFC 243 has a killer main event, an awesome co-main event and that's... sort of it. Tai Tuivasa is brilliant to watch and has been given something of a gimme fight, so that's worth watching. Jake Matthews is always well worth watching as is Megan Anderson. 

But folks, that main event. It's a big one. Reminds me of Luke Rockhold vs Chris Weidman: two great fighters in their prime on a collision course. You don't want to miss that fight. 

Main card

UFC Middleweight Championship match: Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Israel Adesanya
Al Iaquinta vs. Dan Hooker
Tai Tuivasa vs. Serghei Spivac
Luke Jumeau vs. Dhiego Lima
Justin Tafa vs. Yorgan De Castro

Prelims

Jake Matthews vs. Rostam Akman
Callan Potter vs. Maki Pitolo
Megan Anderson vs. Zarah Fairn Dos Santos

Early Prelims

Brad Riddell vs. Jamie Mullarkey
Nadia Kassem vs. Ji Yeon Kim
Khalid Taha vs Bruno Silva

Is it worth watching?

I can't remember being this excited for a main event since Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Mainly because it's such a tough one to call. Whittaker has been flawless at Middleweight and beaten absolute killers like Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza. Israel Adesanya, on the other hand, has proven himself a worthy heir to Anderson Silva with flashy, precise striking. It's just an extremely compelling match-up between two of the most exciting athletes on the UFC roster. I want to be around when they collide.

Who will win? Betting odds have them close to dead even. Expect Whittaker to mix in wrestling with his strikes. Expect Adesanya to try and keep Whittaker at kicking distance, slowing the pace and freezing him with slick feints.  

It's impossible to call, which makes for a compelling, must-see fight.