UFC: Robert Whittaker hospitalised with a hernia, pulls pin on title fight

UFC 234 Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum

UFC 234 Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum fight in the night's most anticipated bout

Undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will take on No. 4-ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum in the land down under.

"He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a hernia", ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto revealed.

He later said Whittaker would be undergoing surgery on Sunday for the problem. "It wasn't a weight-cutting related issue or anything like that, it's just a very unfortunate hernia issue which may even require a procedure".

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The loss of Whittaker, who is on a nine-fight win streak, will certainly be a massive disappointment for many fans with UFC 234 tickets.

Both fighters started their careers at welterweight before later moving up a weight class.

For all the good luck that the UFC had in keeping fights scheduled through January, February is not starting off the same way. About a month before the event, Whittaker had to pull out with a staph infection in his stomach.

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Gastelum won a state wrestling championship in high school, although Whittaker's amateur achievements in freestyle wrestling, as well as his proven ability to stop any-and-every takedown, make it unlikely that this fight spends much time on the ground.

Elevated to the co-main is the lightweight matchup between Albuquerque action hero Lando Vannata and surging Brazilian Marcos Mariano.

UFC fighters Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva.

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Adesanya, a New Zealander who UFC called its breakout star of 2018 in its release, made his UFC debut only a year ago in the preliminary card of UFC 221, the same event that Whittaker had to pull out of.

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