Whittaker-Adesanya set for Melbourne Oct. 5

The highly anticipated Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya middleweight title unification bout finally has a home.

The fight, which will headline UFC 243, will take place at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, on Oct. 5, UFC officials announced Tuesday. Melbourne's Herald Sun first reported the news.

Marvel Stadium, known as Etihad Stadium until last year, can hold up to 60,000 fans for an MMA event, which means if the event sells out it would be the highest attended card in UFC history. The current record is 56,214 fans for UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium in November 2015 for an event headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm.

UFC 243 was originally slated for Las Vegas, but once the Whittaker vs. Adesanya fight materialized, the promotion worked to relocate the card to Australia.

The fight will mark the culmination of a grudge match that has been brewing for about a year. Whittaker, the UFC's middleweight champion, is originally from New Zealand but currently lives and trains out of Sydney, Australia, while Adesanya, the promotion's interim middleweight champion, fights out of Auckland, New Zealand, setting up a bout that will tap into the rich sporting rivalry between the two countries.

Adesanya (17-0) won the interim title in April when he defeated Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision. The win improved his record to 6-0 in the UFC. "The Last Stylebender" has quickly become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC.

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Whittaker (20-4) hasn't fought since June 2018. In fact, this will mark the third time the UFC will attempt to headline a card in Australia with Whittaker since last year. Whittaker withdrew from UFC 221 in January 2018 due to a staph infection in his stomach and chickenpox. He also was forced to pull out of UFC 234 earlier this year on just a few hours' notice after suffering from an internal hernia and a collapsed bowel. Whittaker underwent emergency surgery as the event was going on in Melbourne.

"I have unfinished business here," Whittaker tweeted Tuesday morning. "See you in October, Melbourne Australia."

The UFC has yet to officially announce any other fights for the card at this time.

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