Thunder from Down Under

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The photograph of Robert Whittaker, Tai Tuivasa and Megan Anderson taken by The Daily Telegraph before UFC 225 in Chicago was titled “The Takeover.”

They weren’t kidding.

New Zealand-born Aussie Whittaker, now the middleweight champion, is the first fighter from Down Under to hold a UFC crown, after winning an instant classic over Yoel Romero in their main event rematch.

Western Sydney’s Tuivasa, a rising heavyweight star, upped his perfect pro record to 10-0 with a victory over former champion Andrei Arlovski. While Anderson lost her UFC debut to featherweight superstar Holly Holm, the former Invicta FC champion from the Gold Coast is expected to do big things at 145 pounds in the future.

Fighters from Australia and New Zealand have come a long way since Elvis Sinosic, Anthony Perosh and James Te Huna were the only natives representing both nations in the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion.

But the Aussies and Kiwis aren’t done yet, as the UFC Fight Night Singapore card on June 23 features four of Australia and New Zealand’s finest competitors.

In the co-main event, light heavyweight contender Tyson Pedro can scale the rankings at 205lbs when he takes on No. 7  Ovince Saint Preux. Pedro has had training camps in Australia, Thailand and the United States. The Sydney native has won and finished seven of his eight pro fights in the first round, and will be hoping for more of the same against the respected OSP.

EDMONTON, AB – SEPTEMBER 09: Ilir Latifi, left, fights Tyson Pedro during UFC 215 at Rogers Place on September 9, 2017 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Welterweight phenom Jake Matthews has been on the UFC roster since 2014, yet the Victoria product is still only 23 years old. On June 23, he looks to make it three consecutive wins since returning to the 170lbs weight class last year when he battles Japanese veteran Shinsho Anzai in a potential Fight of the Night candidate.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 10: Jake Matthews of Australia poses on the scale during the UFC 221 weigh-in at Perth Arena on February 10, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Now making her home in Las Vegas, the heart of Innisfail’s Jessica-Rose Clark is never far from home, and while she came to the UFC in 2017 with a solid reputation, few expected her to blast her way into the flyweight top ten with back-to-back wins over Bec Rawlings and Paige VanZant. A victory over fellow contender Jessica Eye, could enter Clark into the title picture at 125lbs.

ST. LOUIS, MO – JANUARY 11: Jessica-Rose Clark of Australia poses for a portrait during a UFC photo session on January 11, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Winner of five of his last six bouts, Auckland featherweight Shane Young will be chasing his first Octagon victory when he meets the Philippines’ Rolando Dy. Last November, Young got his call to the big show on short notice and still went three strong rounds with Australia’s Alex Volkanovski before losing a decision. Now the stablemate of middleweight sensation Israel Adesanya is back with a full training camp and the hunger to get his hand raised in Singapore.

The takeover continues.

Full card for UFC® FIGHT NIGHT SINGAPORE: COWBOY VS EDWARDS presented by AirAsia can be found here.

Tickets to UFC® FIGHT NIGHT SINGAPORE: COWBOY VS EDWARDS presented by AirAsia are on sale and will be available for purchase online at www.sportshubtix.sg, the Sports Hub Tix Box Office, Sports Hub Tix Outlets at all SingPost locations, and by calling Sports Hub Tix Hotline at +65 3158 7888.