UFC 243: Under The Radar
Jamie Mullarkey v Brad Riddell
By James Heaney
All eyes will be on the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Sunday as Robert Whittaker looks to defend his Middleweight title against interim-champ Israel Adesanya.
The UFC 243 card has been criticised for a lack of ‘big names’, particularly when it sits in the shadows of 244 at Madison Square Garden and the year ending 245 in the following months. But names and reputations don’t always mean excitement- styles make fights.
At the start of September, Fight News Australia (@fightnewsaus) announced that Brad Riddell had been signed to the UFC roster- albeit without an opponent. The experienced kickboxing and Muay Thai standout enters the weekend with a 6-1 record.
A few days later, Jamie Mullarkey (@jamie_mullarkey), the reigning Superfight MMA lightweight champion called out Riddell and his wish was granted.
Ross Pearson (@rosstherealdeal) recently Tweeted that the weekends Bellator card in Dublin ‘lit a fire’ in him and there’s a desire to get back into the cage.
Pearson has been a regular cornerman for his stable of fighters out of Central Coast MMA and it’s obvious the fire and pride has never faded. His reaction to one of his star pupils stopping Abel Brites in Round 2 towards the end of 2018 is proof of that. That star pupil- Jamie Mullarkey.
Mullarkey is an exciting, intense fighter who has seen just one of his fights go to a decision, but that was over five years ago. He is extremely well rounded as his finishes show- winning via TKO by punches, arm triangles and rear naked chokes.
In the opposite corner, Riddell will be hoping to set the tone for the rest of the UFC 243 card, with a win for City Kickboxing- Dan Hooker and Israel Adesanya fight later on the card. He already has three wins this year, two of them finishes. He to is a complete, well rounded martial artist, but his striking base is his real threat. The natural welterweight will be bringing some firepower to the stacked lightweight division.
Abel Brites had previously submitted Mullarkey’s UFC243 opponent, Brad Riddell, at a Hex event earlier that year. Mullarkey finished him in November. Brites beats Riddell, Mullarkey beats Brites, but what happens when Riddell meets Mullarkey?
This fight at lightweight has the potential for a Fight of The Night contender- Riddell has already reiterated his desire to put on a show, in front of potentially the biggest live UFC crowd of all time, targeting that $50k bonus. In his way is an exciting fighter who has already shared the Octagon with experienced and talented fighters- including Riddell’s Teammate Alex Volkanovski.
This is a great matchup for an international audience tuning into the Prelims and a great fight for fans of the local scene who have watched these two on Australian shows including SuperFight (@superfightmma) and Hex (@hexfs). It is testament to the quality and progression of Australian MMA that exciting professionals such as Riddell and Mullarkey, still arguably yet to hit their prime, are deservedly getting their shot at the UFC. I expect both to make an impression and continue to thrive in the UFC.