Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Culture | By Jeremy Gray

Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker ruled out for title defense fight

Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker ruled out for title defense fight

UFC 234 was an attractive even with Whittaker facing Kelvin Gastelum for the middleweight title and Adesanya/Silva vying for the right to fight the victor, but Whittaker's exit has turned the event on its head.

The 43-year-old Brazilian great will face Nigerian-New Zealander Israel Adesanya (15-0) in his comeback fight in Melbourne on Sunday and after making weight, Silva was overcome with emotion.

Kelvin Gastelum is trying to put a positive spin on losing his chance to fight for the middleweight title at UFC 234. A lightweight clash between Lando Vannata and Marcos Rosa Mariano that was originally scheduled for the Fight Pass prelims has been moved to the pay-per-view lineup.

UFC president Dana White said Whittaker's injury was unexpected and occurred the previous night. The issue is not believed to be related to his weight cut.

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The New Zealand-born Australian was due to headline his home event at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday (03:00 GMT).

Despite being elevated to the main event, Adesanya's bout will remain a three-round fight.

UFC legend Anderson Silva broke down in tears as he prepares to make his long-awaited return at UFC 234 in Australia.

The Sydney-based star has experienced a horror run of injuries and illness throughout his career, including a gruesome abscess infection which forced him to pull out of UFC 221 in 2018.

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