Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum make weight for UFC 234 title bout


UFC 234 will move forward with Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva taking over the headlining slot.

Australia's UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has withdrawn from his championship defence against Kelvin Gastelum on Sunday at UFC 234 because of an abdominal injury.

Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker was forced to have 'emergency surgery' following his sudden withdrawal from UFC 234 on Saturday.

Whittaker, 28, has had a wretched run trying to defend his title on home soil, having also missed a clash against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 last February due to serious illness.

He is a heavy favorite going up against the 43-year old Silva, who has not fought in two years, and a victory should catapult the entertaining Style Bender into the main event scene.

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UFC president Dana White stated that Whittaker began complaining of issues after weighing in Friday night and was taken to a local hospital.

Fighting out of Sydney, Whittaker is the UFC's first titleholder from Australia.

It is unclear how long Whittaker will be inactive, but Gastelum's manager Ali Abdelaziz has said that he would like his fighter to face the victor of Adesanya vs Silva. They were initially slated to be the co-main event in Melbourne.

Whittaker last fought Yoel Romero in a five-round war at UFC 225 in Chicago.

On Saturday, Whittaker and Gastelum both made weight, with "The Reaper" coming in at 185-pounds and the American challenger at 184-pounds.