Paulo Costa has been forced out of an upcoming headliner against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC Fight Night 188 on April 17th due to illness.
Costa is reportedly suffering from “severe flu” and as such is unable to train properly for the fight in a month’s time.
That’s a big blow for the UFC as this was a major fight for the 185lb division since both fighters were looking to prove themselves worthy of another shot at the title.
Costa had fallen short in his first attempt to take the title from Israel Adesanya last year, suffering a one-sided beaten that ended by TKO in the second round and shut down his 13-fight unbeaten run.
Meanwhile, Whittaker lost the title to Adesanya back in 2019, but has since compiled wins against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, which had left him close to title contention once again.
At this stage it’s not clear whether the UFC will attempt to find a new opponent for Whittaker, or will simply postpone this current match-up until a later date.
Since Costa is only suffering from the flu it might be tempting just to go with the latter option, but that will give the UFC matchmakers a significant headache since there isn’t another fight currently booked for UFC Fight Night 188 that could step in to replace it as the headliner.