Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum will finally face each other on April 17th. The pair were previously scheduled to fight at UFC 234 on Feb. 10th, in Melbourne, Australia.
Whittaker and Gastelum were set to headline UFC 234 at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. However, Robert was forced to pull himself from the card due to health issues. It was discovered that Whittaker was battling a hernia, as well as a twisted and collapsed bowel that required emergency surgery that night.
During the promotion of the fight, Gastelum was confident that he would be able to finish Whittaker. In fact, he told media members that he would knock out Whittaker in the first round of their fight.
“I’m predicting a first-round knockout,” Gastelum said during the UFC 234 media day in the Los Angeles area Tuesday (h/t MMA Fighting). “I’ve put in so much work and I feel so confident in my abilities and confident in what I’ve done in the sport that I’m predicting a first-round knockout.”
Whittaker vs Gastelum
Now Kelvin will finally get the chance to capitalize on his words. Initially, Whittaker was slated to face Paulo Costa in a seemingly number one contender fight in the middleweight division. Unfortunately, Costa was forced to pull himself from the fight due to health concerns.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) March 16, 2021
Quickly after the announcement, Gastelum slid in to take Costa’s place. The last time Kelvin entered the octagon, he walked out with a decision win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258. Whittaker, however, is on a two-fight winning streak after defeating Jared Cannonier and Darren Till by decision.
Both men have their eyes on the prize in the form of UFC gold. Ranked #1 and #8 respectively, both Whittaker and Gastelum are hoping that their featured bout will have title shot implications. Although the UFC has yet to be clear on the incentives of their fight.