What a time it is for Kiwi and Australian mixed martial arts fans.

When the UFC returns Down Under on October 6 for UFC 243 in Melbourne, it won't just be the headliner that features Australian and New Zealand fighters.

Christopher Reive looks at the realistic possibility that every fight on the card could feature at least one Anzac fighter.

Already booked

Main event: Israel Adesanya (NZ) v Robert Whittaker (Aus) for the undisputed middleweight championship

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Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya will headline UFC 243 in Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images
Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya will headline UFC 243 in Melbourne. Photo / Getty Images

This one shapes up as a candidate for fight of the year. Adesanya and Whittaker are unbeaten at middleweight, and have shown they both have a well rounded skill set inside the cage. Adesanya holds a 17-0 professional record, while Whittaker has won 20 of his 24 fights, with all four losses coming at welterweight. It's a fight sure to excite the fans.

Welterweight bout: Luke Jumeau (NZ) v Dhiego Lima

Sources tell the Herald Jumeau will return to the octagon at UFC 243 after spending more than a year on the sidelines due to injury. He last fought in Perth in February last year against Japanese fighter Daichi Abe where he won by unanimous decision. While he's signed off on the fight agreement for the October card, the UFC are yet to reveal his opponent.

Women's flyweight bout: Nadia Kassem (Aus) v Ji Yeon Kim

Kassem hasn't fought since UFC 234 in Melbourne in February, where she was submitted by Montana de la Rosa for her first career loss. In six professional fights, the 23-year-old has only fought in Australia, so it makes sense for her to return at UFC 243. Sources tell the Herald she will do just that, with Ji Yeon Kim of South Korea booked as her opponent.

All of Nadia Kassem's professional fights have been in Australia. Photo / Getty Images
All of Nadia Kassem's professional fights have been in Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Heavyweight: Tai Tuivasa (Aus) v Sergey Spivak

On a two-fight skid, there's no better card for Tuivasa to try to turn things around on than one in his backyard. Sources tell the Herald the fan favourite and ranked at No 13 in the UFC's heavyweight division will square off against the 9-1 Spivak, who comes in following a knockout loss to Walt Harris in his UFC debut.

Heavyweight: Justin Tafa (Aus) v Yorgan De Castro

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What a card for Tafa to make his UFC debut on. Unbeaten in three professional bouts with three stoppages, he'll meet fellow undefeated prospect Yorgan de Castro (5-0), MMA Junkie reports. De Castro was awarded a UFC contract as part of Dana White's Contender Series after an impressive win as a heavy underdog. He's the first fighter from Cape Verde to be signed by the promotion and has won four of his five bouts by stoppage.

The possibilities

Dan Hooker (NZ) lightweight

He's as fresh as someone who had a fight less than a week ago could possibly be. After a seven-month break, Hooker returned to the octagon with a vengeance at the weekend sending James Vick into the astral dimension inside the first round. Now ranked No 14, Hooker has demanded to be on the October card in Melbourne, and called out No 6 ranked Al Iaquinta, who seems interested in the match up.

Alex Volkanovski is the UFC's No 1 ranked featherweight. Photo / Getty Images
Alex Volkanovski is the UFC's No 1 ranked featherweight. Photo / Getty Images

Alexander Volkanovski (Aus) featherweight

The No 1 ranked featherweight in the UFC, Volkanovski's next fight should be for the featherweight title. The only issue is that the title – currently held by Hawaiian Max Holloway – gets put on the line against No 4 ranked Frankie Edgar this weekend. Should the winner of that fight be unable to face such a quick turnaround for the October card, Volkanovski probably won't appear in the octagon in Melbourne. Even if both the title holder and Volkanovski are ready to go for October, the UFC may choose not to book a second title fight on the card.

Shane Young (NZ) featherweight

On a two-fight win streak, Young's last fight was a unanimous decision win over American Austin Arnett in Melbourne in February this year. The 25-year-old has lost just once in his past eight bouts; losing in his UFC debut against Volkanovski in a fight he took on short notice. He's fresh and will be ready to go.

Shane Young last fought in February. Photo / Michael Craig
Shane Young last fought in February. Photo / Michael Craig

Tyson Pedro (Aus) light heavyweight

Like Jumeau, Pedro's career has been derailed by injury in recent times and, like Tuivasa, he's on a two-fight skid. Working his way back from an ACL tear suffered in December last year, Pedro has been working hard toward a return which could very well come in Melbourne in October.

Megan Anderson (Aus) featherweight

Anderson last fought in New York in May where she was submitted by Felicia Spencer in the first round. With just seven other fighters in the women's featherweight division, it might be a matter of availability but Anderson is a definite contender for this card.

Megan Anderson last fought in May. Photo / Getty Images
Megan Anderson last fought in May. Photo / Getty Images

Jake Matthews (Aus) welterweight

After fighting three times in 2018, Matthews is yet to step foot in the octagon this year after welcoming his daughter, Alani, in January. It would be a surprise if Matthews wasn't booked on the card, given he's from Melbourne, boasts a formidable 14-4 record and has won three of his last four fights.

Kai Kara-France (NZ) flyweight

All going well, Kara-France will be in Melbourne to fight in October. But before he can consider that as an option, he has to get through his upcoming bout against Mark de la Rosa in China on September 1 (NZ time). It would be a rapid turnaround for the No 11 ranked flyweight, but that won't stop him from doing everything he can to fight at UFC 243.

Kai Kara-France has a fight book at UFC Shenzhen - about a month before UFC 243. Photo / Doug Sherring
Kai Kara-France has a fight book at UFC Shenzhen - about a month before UFC 243. Photo / Doug Sherring

Jimmy Crute (Aus) light heavyweight

Like Kara-France, Crute has another fight to get through before he can plan to fight in Melbourne. He'll fight Misha Cirkunov in Vancouver just three weeks out from UFC 243 looking to maintain his unbeaten record. Should Crute get the job done quickly and without sustaining too much damage, an appearance in Melbourne could well be on the cards.

Callan Potter (Aus) welterweight

Potter made his UFC debut in Melbourne in February as a late call up to replace Alex Gorgees in a lightweight bout against American Jalin Turner in which he was put away in just 53 seconds. A veteran of the local scene, Potter would no doubt love the opportunity to step back inside the octagon with a full camp under his belt. While he debuted with the promotion at lightweight, he has stated his desire to make the move up to welterweight because the lightweight limit of 155lbs/70.3kg has become unrealistic.

The Herald understands there's a chance the card could feature at least one more fighter making their promotional debut, with a push expected to come for some rising Kiwi competitors. As Adesanya told the Herald: "We're going to stack that s***."

Less likely

Jessica-Rose Clark (Aus) Bantamweight

Clark is currently recovering from a foot injury sustained in the build-up to a fight she had scheduled in May. Clark snapped ligaments in her right foot during a sparring session. While she's no longer wearing a moon boot, she is still working on building the stamina, movement and strength in her foot and may not have time to recover fully before the October card.