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Robert Whittaker & Kelvin Gastelum's UFC 234 Staredown

10 February 2019, 01:40 | Regina Holmes

Nigeria’s UFC World Middleweight title contender Israel Adesanya

Nigeria’s UFC World Middleweight title contender Israel Adesanya

Behind the first UFC paywall of the year is a middldweight title fight between champion, Robert Whittaker, and challenger, Kelvin Gastelum.

ESPN's Brett Okamoto reported the news, citing UFC chief Dana White.

It's obviously a huge blow to Whittaker, 28, who was forced to pull out of a title defense on home soil in February 2018.

With Whittaker out, Anderson Silva's long-awaited return to the octagon against rising star Israel Adesanya has been elevated to the UFC 234 main event.

Other fights on the UFC 234 main card include Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon (Bantamweight), Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem (Women Flyweight) and Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey (Light Heavyweight).

"It wasn't a weight-cutting related issue or anything like that, it's just a very unfortunate hernia issue which may even require a procedure".




With next to no time to find a replacement for Whittaker all the way out in Australia, UFC 234 turned to its old superstar in Silva to headline the event.

UFC 234 takes place Saturday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

In a later statement, UFC said Whittaker had undergone emergency surgery due to a "severe abdominal injury".

Whittaker's opponent - Kelvin Gastelum - has also impressed everyone with his performances off late and his last two wins came against big names like Rondaldo Souza and Michael Bisping.

Earlier this week, White had said the winners of the Whittaker-Gastelum and Adesanya-Silva fights would meet later this year.

"He's going to be a true test of my character and my abilities".



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