Robert Whittaker now have a new opponent for his UFC On ESPN 22 headliner on April 17th after Paulo Costa withdrew due to suffering from severe flu symptoms.
In Costa’s place will be Kelvin Gastelum, who has agreed to fight the former middleweight champion on one month’s notice.
The 29-year-old Gastelum is coming off a decision win over Ian Heinisch last month at UFC 258 and is currently ranked No.8 in the division.
That win had saw Gastelum snap a three-fight losing streak, having lost out on the scorecards to both Israel Adesanya and Darren Till in 2019, and then suffer defeat by submission against Jack Hermansson in his only fight last year.
Whittaker also lost to aforementioned Adesanya in 2019 in a title fight, and has since been plotting his path back to the belt.
So far he has put together back-to-back decision victories against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier to solidify his spot as the division’s No.1 contender, while also being No.13 in the pound-for-pound rankings too, but still now has to get past Gastelum before having the possibility of setting up a rematch with ‘The Last Stylebender’.
Whittaker vs. Gastelum headlines a still-in-development UFC On ESPN 22 card that will also feature fights like Jeremy Stephens vs. Drakkar Klose, Alexander Romanov vs. Juan Espino and Luis Pena vs. Alex Munoz.