'Hard to watch': Aussie fighter brutalised in horror start to UFC 243

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

The local fighters have experienced a mixed start to UFC 243 in Melbourne, with Aussie Nadia Kassem on the receiving end of a brutal loss.

Kassem was beaten by Ji Yeon Kim late in the second round of their flyweight bout at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

The referee stopped the fight with just one second left in the round after Kassem received a number of brutal punches that left her bleeding from the nose.

Nadia Kassem copped a beating. Image: Getty

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“The long finishing sequence was a little hard to watch,” ESPN’s MMA expert Ariel Helwani tweeted.

Kassem was distraught as she left the Octagon - her record now 1-2 with both losses in Australia.

However it wasn’t all bad for the Aussies, with Megan Anderson claiming a submission victory in the next fight.

Anderson made Zarah Fairn dos Santos tap out in the opening round with a perfectly-executed triangle choke.

"It's amazing to come home to Australia, they're the best fans in the world so thank you for your support," Anderson said afterwards.

It was the featherweight’s first fight in Australia in almost five years after having her past eight contests in the United States.

Aussie backs Adesanya over Whittaker

Stablemates say Israel Adesanya has always believed he will be a UFC world champion, and one prominent Australian fighter will be rooting for him against Robert Whittaker at Marvel Stadium on Sunday.

The New Zealand-based Adesanya has exuded his trademark confidence in Melbourne this week, convinced he will end Whittaker's middleweight title reign.

The Nigerian-born Adesanya has a perfect 17-0 MMA record and is 6-0 under the UFC banner, .

He won the interim title in his last fight and in less than two years with the UFC, has been fast-tracked into a full championship bout with Whittaker, who is on a nine-fight win streak stretching back over five years.

"He's been telling us since as far as I can remember that he's going to be world champ and stadiums are going to have his name in lights," said Adesanya's City Kickboxing stablemate Dan Hooker, who is also fighting on Sunday's show.

Adesanya was angling for an opportunity with the UFC when he watched their last Marvel Stadium show in 2015, which attracted an organisation record crowd of over 56,000.

"Even at UFC 193 right here back when it was Etihad Stadium I remember walking the streets and tweeting 'if you see (UFC boss Dana (White) mention me'," Adesnaya said.

"Now here we are, I'm about to headline the whole thing and shock the world."

While Whittaker will have plenty of Australians on his side, one notable exception will be world No.1-ranked featherweight contender Alexander Volkanovski.

He admires Whittaker greatly but Volkanovski, who challenges featherweight world champion Max Holloway in December, regularly trains at City Kickboxing.

"I am rooting for Izzy this weekend, but there's no real bad result, but Izzy is a teammate and I hope he does well," Volkanovski said.

with AAP