Jake Matthews makes his return to the UFC stage.

Jake Matthews makes his return to the UFC stage.

At 8:30am, crowds had already assembled outside Marvel Stadium, all excited to see UFC 243’s fighters for the last time before they take to the octagon in front of a crowd of up to 60,000 people.

There were a few concerned looks amongst the crowd as the first two preliminary bouts saw one fighter miss weight in each, resulting in a percentage of their purses being forfeit, but luckily the rest of the card then managed to weigh in without any issues.

Robert Whittaker makes weight in front of the home crowd.

Robert Whittaker makes weight in front of the home crowd.

With a fight card stacked heavily with fighters from both New Zealand and Australia, flags representing both nations littered the crowd, and cheers would fill the arena each time a fighter of either nationality made their way on stage. One such fighter being Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa (9-2), who has established himself as a crowd favourite after having consumed numerous beers out of his shoe (known as a shoey) at UFC events around the world.

Tai Tuivasa on the scales.

Tai Tuivasa on the scales.

After an intermission in which the backstory of Israel Adesanya (17-0) and Robert Whittaker’s (20-4) rivalry was played on the big screens, the crowd roared as Adesanya made his way onto the scale. After his weight was announced, Adesanya remained calm, reaching out to friends and family in the crowd.

As they had done for his rival, the crowd erupted as Whittaker made his way on stage and onto the scale. With his championship weight announced, Whittaker beat his chest and screamed at the crowd who did the same in return, before facing off one last time against Adesanya.

The final face off between Whittaker and Adesanya.

The final face off between Whittaker and Adesanya.