Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wasted no time in finding a replacement to face Robert Whittaker after Paulo Costa bowed out of their scheduled bout on April 17, because Kelvin Gastelum has stepped up to fill the void.
MMA Junkie confirmed the Middleweight booking a day after “Borrachinha” revealed he wouldn’t be fighting after coming down with the flu.
If you recall, Whittaker and Gastelum were originally booked to throw down at UFC 234 in Feb. 2019 for the Middleweight belt before Whittaker was forced out the day of the fight with a hernia and twisted bowel. Since then, Kelvin has only managed to rack up a 1-3 record, snapping his three fight losing streak with a victory over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 in Feb. 2021.
Whittaker, meanwhile, eventually coughed up his strap to Israel Adesanya, but bounced back nicely with back-to-back decision victories over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
A win over Costa would have likely earned him a rematch against “The Last Stylebender.” While that may still be the case of he can take Gastelum out, there is no telling if Kelvin will get the same opportunity if he takes out “The Reaper.”