It didn’t take long for the UFC to find a replacement for Paulo Costa to headline the April 17th Fight Night card opposite Robert Whittaker.
It was revealed late Monday night that Paulo Costa would be unable to compete against Robert Whittaker on April 17 due to falling severely ill. There were talks of the UFC potentially rescheduling the fight, but that will not be the case after Kelvin Gastelum has decided to step in for Costa as reported by ESPN Tuesday afternoon.
This is not the first time that Whittaker and Gastelum have been paired together. The two coached the 28th season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite one another and were scheduled to fight at UFC 234 with Whittaker making his first middleweight title defense. Unfortunately, Whittaker was forced to withdraw hours before the bout due to an abdominal hernia. Gastelum would then watch the event unfold parading around with what he claimed to be the middleweight championship that he won by forfeit. There will be no gold on the line this time, but Gastelum can still earn a sense of vindication should he defeat Whittaker in April.
Robert Whittaker is currently ranked #1 and is eagerly pursuing a rematch against champion Israel Adesanya. A victory over Gastelum would be a third straight win over a ranked opponent for Whittaker and strengthen his case. As for Gastelum, a win here would re-insert himself back into title picture and perhaps earn him the highly coveted Adesanya rematch instead of Whittaker.
With this new main event, the updated lineup for the April 17 Fight Night card is now as follows:
Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Jeremy Stephens vs. Drakkar Klose
Austin Hubbard vs. Natan Levy
Tony Gravely vs. Nate Maness
Tracy Cortez vs. Justin Kish
Parker Porter vs. Chase Sherman
Bartosz vs. Gerald Meerschaert
Who is your pick to win this middleweight fight years in the making? Robert Whittaker or Kelvin Gastelum?