Robert Whittaker gets Kelvin Gastelum as replacement for UFC main event on April 17

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Kelvin Gastelum has stepped up.

With Robert Whittaker in need of an opponent for the UFC’s April 17 event, Gastelum (16-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) will replace Paulo Costa, who withdrew Monday due to illness, in the five-round main event.

Two people with knowledge of the new matchup confirmed the booking to MMA Junkie on Tuesday after an initial report by Milenio. The people asked to remain anonymous since the promotion has yet to make an official announcement.

The April 17 card doesn’t have an official location, though the UFC received licensure from the Nevada Athletic Commission on Tuesday to hold it at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Gastelum and Whittaker (22-5 MMA, 13-3 UFC) were scheduled to fight at UFC 234 in February 2019. However, Whittaker withdrew on the day of the fight due to a hernia. A little more than two years later, they’ll finally step into the cage against one another.

Gastelum, 29, snapped a three-fight losing skid in February when he defeated Ian Henisch with a unanimous decision. “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner has gone 4-4 with one no contest since moving to middleweight in late 2016.

Whittaker is on a two-fight winning streak since losing the UFC middleweight championship to Israel Adesanya in October 2019. Back-to-back unanimous decision victories against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier landed Whittaker in his April 17 main event slot.

With the change, the UFC’s April 17 lineup now includes:

  • Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

  • Bartosz Fabinski vs. Gerald Meerschaert

  • Parker Porter vs. Chase Sherman

  • Tracy Cortez vs. Justine Kish

  • Tony Gravely vs. Nate Maness

  • Austin Hubbard vs. Natan Levy

  • Drakkar Klose vs. Jeremy Stephens


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