The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Australia this week with an Aussie champion headlining the card in Melbourne for UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum.
The UFC 234 weigh-in took place on Friday. Breaking from the norm, there were not two separate weigh-in events. With the time difference between Australia and North America, the UFC opted for a single weigh-in.
The UFC 234 headliner pits middleweight titleholder Robert Whittaker against fellow The Ultimate Fighter winner and TUF coach Kelvin Gastelum in a battle for his belt on his home turf.
After weighing 184 pounds and shaking hands with the champ, Gastelum said, "I have nothing but respect for Rob, but tomorrow night, we've got to rip each other's heads off and I plan on doing it."
Whittaker, who stepped on the scale at 185 pounds, concurred, other than Gastelum believing he'd come out on top. "I'm gonna go in there and I'm gonna leave everything, leave my soul in there, and like he said, we're gonna rip each other's heads off. It should be a good watch."
Joining them on the card is a bout that will determine the next middleweight contender.
Former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva returns from suspension to face a fighter who many consider to be the newer, younger version of Silva, Israel Adesanya. It was a fight that didn’t initially interest Silva, but when UFC president Dana White dangled a title shot in front of him if he were to win, Silva quickly took the bait.
Silva stepped on the scale at 186 pounds and Adesanya followed at 185 pounds.
After weighing in, Silva, a tear rolling down his cheek, simply said, "Thanks guys. I worked my entire life for this sport."
"He tried to make me cry. F--- him. He's trying to make me cry. Blaaahhh," exclaimed Adesanya, choked up by Silva's display of emotion. "I'm a fan of this man. But just because I'm a fan, doesn't mean he can't catch these hands, and feet, and knees."
No fighter on the card missed weight.
UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum Fight Card
Robert Whittaker (c)(185) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (184)
Israel Adesanya (185) vs. Anderson Silva (186)
Rani Yahya (135) vs. Ricky Simon (135)
Montana De La Rosa (125) vs. Nadia Kassem (124)
Jimmy Crute (206) vs. Sam Alvey (205)
Devonte Smith (156) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (156)
Shane Young (145) vs. Austin Arnett (145)
Kai-Kara France (125) vs. Raulian Paiva (125)
Teruto Ishihara (136) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (136)
Lando Vannata (156) vs. Marcos Mariano (155)
Callan Potter (156) vs. Jalin Turner (155)
Wuliji Buren (136) vs. Jonathan Martinez (136)
Tune in Saturday, Feb. 9 (across North America, Feb. 10 local time in Melbourne), for full UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum Live Results.