Earlier today, we learned that the UFC‘s main event on April 17th had lost one of it’s headliners. Paulo Costa (13-1) came down with the flu and as a result he couldn’t train for his upcoming main event slot against Robert Whittaker (22-5).
As a result, Costa had to pull out of the fight. The UFC was thinking about potentially moving the fight back, but with the uncertainty of Costa’s condition, they decided to move on to try and find a replacement.
Former interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC) immediately volunteered. Gastelum just defeated Ian Heinisch back at UFC 258 and after the win, he said he’d stay ready in order to step in for one of the upcoming middleweight main events.
Sure enough, Costa fell out and a replacement was needed. The UFC contacted Gastelum and the sides came to an agreement. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that the promotion had finalized the deal for Gastelum to step in.
UFC title fight we never saw
Many will remember that this isn’t the first time the UFC has paired these two against each other. Originally, these two were supposed to fight in Australia back in 2019 with the UFC middleweight title on the line.
The day of the fight, Whittaker had to pull out of the fight. Whittaker had to have emergency surgery and was on the sidelines for a while. Gastelum ended up fighting Israel Adesanya for the interim title and came up short.
Adesanya of course would then go on to defeat Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title. We never got to see these two compete for the UFC title. However, now we are going to see them compete in a UFC main event. Whoever wins this matchup is going to put themselves in a great position to be the next challenger.