Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019
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SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2019 SPORT 49 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Champ to drag out pain NICK WALSHAW fends his UFC middleweight strap for the first time on Australian soil. Last time the Sydneysider fought inside a steel cage, he produced such a slobberknocker against Cuban monster Yoel Romero which included punching for over 25 minutes with a busted right hand it was voted stoush of the year. Now 16 months on, he wants to double down. I dont think hell be able to take my power, Whittaker told News Corp shortly before his Saturday morning weighin, where he and Adesanya both came in under the 83.9kg limit. The defending champion added his year-long absence from the Octagon, thanks largely to suffering a collapsed and twisted bowel on the morning of his previous title defence in February, would not be an issue. Not a problem at all, Whittaker stressed. Physically, Ive never felt better. Ive also been involved in a few different (grappling) competitions this year as well, tournaments where Ive got to experience the adrenaline of competing. Although to be honest, you never really get used to fighting. Ive had over 20 of them professionally but every time a new one comes around, the feeling is always ridiculous. And that wont change, no matter how recently youve fought. Asked this week how the title bout would be won, the fighter dubbed Bobby Knuckles said: Im not looking to finish him; Im looking to drag this into a five-round war. Im going to drag him into the trenches. Im going to do what (Kelvin) Gastelum did, but better. Lets see if he wants to leave early. When the pair squared off after hitting the scales, Whittaker stood silently while Adesanya began firing off a verbal assault in what he later revealed was his native African tongue. I just wanted him to feel me, the challenger said. Adesanya then recalled how four years ago, in the same venue for UFC 193, he had been watching from the bleachers of a stadium where he is now set to headline. Frustrated Starc fails to find his rhythm SCOTT GULLAN A FRUSTRATED Brandon Starc is confident an injury-free run into Tokyo will see him challenging for medals. The Australian highjumper was disappointed about the world championships final where he finished sixth behind Qatars Mutaz Essa Barshim. Starc struggled to find his rhythm before a first-up clearance at 2.30m put him back in the medal frame but he was then unable to clear 2.33m. Its disappointing, the result and how I jumped really, he said. Not horrible but not what I wanted. I didnt really put it together, maybe 2.30 was all right, but really the other jumps werent great. For the first time Khalifi Stadium was at capacity with the locals flocking to support Barshim, the defending world champion.Brandon Starc competes in the men's high jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar Picture: AP Photo Graeme Sawyer 2014 Pride of Australia medallist Nominations Now Open Do you know a local hero or someone in the community who deserves recognition? Pride of Australia celebrates everyday Australians doing extraordinary things. Nominate now at prideofaustralia.com.au Bird-Smith carried off after finishing AUSTRALIAS Dane BirdSmith had to be carried away by medical staff after succumbing to Dohas gruelling conditions in the 20km walk. Despite the event starting at 11.30pm, the heat and humidity was still a major factor in the race which was won by Japans Toshikazu Yamanishi (1hr26min34sec). Bird-Smith finished over five minutes behind the winner in 14th place (1:32.11sec). Once he crossed the line, the Queenslander bent over and put his hands on his knees before then falling face down on the track. Medical staff rushed to his aid but an exhausted BirdSmith refused a wheelchair before being taken away by Australian medical staff to a special cooling tent. He was later cleared of any issues and returned to the team hotel. The Rio Olympic bronze medallist had started the race brilliantly and was leading through the 5km mark before being swamped by the chasing pack. It was around this time that Yamanishi made his move, breaking away from the field and from there he was never threatened. ROBERT Whittaker has vowed to drag Israel Adesanya into the trenches for a UFC 243 blockbuster that many analysts are already tipping to be a contender for 2019 Fight of the Year. With over 50,000 fight fans expected to pack Melbournes Marvel Arena this afternoon, Whittaker is promising to gift them 25 minutes of fistic mayhem as he de
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