UFC 243 is undoubtedly the biggest fight night in Australian MMA history. With too many top prospects to analyze, we have to switch things up! These are two fights flying too far under the radar at UFC 243.
|#1| Brad “Quake” Riddell (6-1) vs. Jamie Mullarkey (12-2)
The Lightweight Kiwi Brad Riddell brings a wealth of fighting experience into his first octagon action. The third City Kickboxing product (Adesanya, Hooker) to grace Saturday’s card began his career demolishing kickboxers and Muay Thai fighters. He actually stumbled onto MMA by accident, venturing to Burma for a fight when the promoter pulled a fast one on him and informed him at the event it was MMA.
Jamie Mullarkey brings a similar story into Saturday’s action. The Aussie only played his national sport, rugby, and would box for cardio training in the offseason. Boxing led to MMA training and before he knew it, his first fight was booked. After delivering a knockout in round one, Mullarkey fell in love and never looked back, going 12-2 with 11 stoppages.
Mullarkey called out Riddell early in 2019 for dodging the best oceanic competition. His wish got paid in full and now 50,000 Aussies will be backing him versus the New Zealander. Riddell has the scouting report on Mullarkey, however, City Kickboxing teammate and Tap In FAVORITE Alexander Volkanovski knocked out Jamie in 2016. Many intriguing wrinkles make this fight a must-see, it’s the third fight from the top on the ESPN2 prelims!
|#2| Yorgan De Castro (5-0) vs. Justin Tafa (3-0)
More top prospects make their UFC debuts as the first fight on the main card. Dana White is smart to put this as the pay per view opener because both men can put anyone face-first into the mat.
Yorgan De Castro is the first fighter from Cape Verde to fight in the octagon. He impressed El Jefé after starching his opponent in The Contender Series this summer. Now training in Fall River, Massachusetts with small outfit Regiment Training, Yorgan is coming into his own at Heavyweight. He started amateur MMA at 205 and struggled to a 3-4 record but got the right guidance and decided to pack on the pounds. The healthy 265’er has four finishes in five fights, three in round one.
Justin Tafa has no plans on becoming De Castro’s next victim. Tafa is 3-0 with a propensity for knockouts as well. He makes up for his minimal experience on the mat with veteran leadership in his corner. The Aussie of Samoan descent has Mark Hunt, Tyson Pedro and Tai Tuivasa (also on UFC 243) backing him full bore. He also has fighting in his blood, both Grandpa and Uncle were champions in boxing and kickboxing respectively. Amazingly, his uncle fought Mark Hunt in K-1 back in 2000! Tafa will look to get the Australian fans going with an early KO, but Yorgan’s coming in with fury in his fists. This is an awesome fight you cannot miss!
Check out our highlights on fellow UFC 243 fighters…
Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa >Here
Dan “The Hangman” Hooker > Here
Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya (no video) > Here
Fighter profiles courtesy of Tapology.com > Here