Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

Per Okamoto, the hernia was not related to Whittaker's weight cut.

With next to no time to find a replacement for Whittaker in the Australian showpiece, UFC 234 will now likely feature a fight between Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya as the main event.

But the bout is now off after Whittaker was diagnosed with a hernia in his abdomen overnight, just hours before he was due to step into the Octagon.

Whittaker was taken to hospital on Saturday morning, a source told ESPN's Ariel Helwani. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass, the UFC's digital streaming network.

Whittaker's withdrawal is a huge blow to UFC 234.

Rising UFC star Israel Adesanya is determined to cement his unique identity at UFC 234 in Melbourne on Sunday in a confirmed bid for the title.

This is the second time in 12 months that Whittaker has had to withdraw from a title defence on home soil, after injury forced him out of the card at ufc 221 in Perth last February. About a month before the event, Whittaker had to pull out with a staph infection in his stomach. Gastelum's split-decision victory over the former fighter at UFC 224 in May 2018 earned him this title shot.

The loss of Whittaker will certainly be a massive disappointment for many fans with UFC 234 tickets.

Whittaker praised Gastelum as a challenger and even called him "one of the most risky fighters to date". The Brazilian will take on a fighter 14 years his junior in Adesanya, who is sixth in the UFC middleweight rankings and 15-0 in his MMA career.

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