This week leading into UFC Adelaide has been hectic, so getting around to cover the #KiwiUFC angle of Mark Hunt and Kai Kara France was put on the back-burner. There is an opportunity to roll through some hard and fast stuff before the event, headlined by Tai Tuivasa vs Junior Dos Santos gets underway tonight, Aotearoa time.
Much of this centres around Submission Radio's interviews this week. Submission Radio are an Australian MMA content machine and as we've not only had all the big name Kiwi and Aussie UFC fighters around for interviews, the likes of Israel Adesanya was in Australia to support France and Robert Whittaker is obviously there for a yarn as well.
I've chucked all relevant interviews below, so check those out. But first, a couple of notes for #KiwiUFC fans to suss out...
Kai Kara France was due to fight Aussie Ashkan Mokhtarian, but Mokhtarian had to pull out for health reasons. France will now fight Elias Garcia, who is based in United States of America and comes down to Australia on late notice.
Having absorbed plenty of #KiwiUFC content this week, I'm still captivated by the Australian presence in the UFC and how the two nations are combining for a monumental takeover. This starts with both Hunt and Robert Whittaker having some #KiwiUFC vibes, so I follow them closely but I also follow Tuivasa and Tyson Pedro closely; Pedro is fighting Shogun Rua on this card.
It feels weird covering the Aussie fighters as much as I do the #KiwiUFC fighters, so I don't think I'll go hundies in zoning in on Tuivasa and Pedro. They are inter-twined with Hunt as Hunt's taken them under his wing and I'd suggest to #KiwiUFC fans to put love and support out into the atmosphere for those Aussie fighters as it's all part of the Anzac takeover.
Looking off into the distance gets a bit weird as well and as Whittaker said, he's solely focused on getting a win vs Kelvin Gastelum early next year. The prospect of Whittaker vs Adesanya (if they both win) is bonkers though and this would epitomise that Anzac takeover.
Flowing on from Whittaker vs Adesanya, I had a buzzy thought about how the best #KiwiUFC fighters are kinda half-#KiwiUFC fighters. Hunt left Aotearoa early in his career and his been based in Sydney for much of his life now, however he's also a South Auckland legend. Whittaker appears to have merely been born in Aotearoa and then shipped across to Australia, but represents his Maori heritage and depending on who he's speaking to, dabbles in reppin' Aotearoa at a hearty level.
Adesanya's the opposite as he came from Nigera to Aotearoa early in his teens. Much of Adesanya's identity stems from Nigeria and African culture, which Adesanya is still immensely tuned into given his post-fight celebration vs Derek Brunson. Adesanya's also reps Aotearoa though and it's just funny how these three, who are the three best Kiwi/Aussie fighters in the UFC aren't full hundies from Aotearoa. That's low key beautiful though as it reflects Aotearoa's diversity and the close relationship between Australia and Aotearoa.
Right, here's all the media coverage from the past few days for youz...