Kelvin Gastelum Replaces Paulo Costa, Meets Robert Whittaker at UFC on ESPN 22

By: Tristen Critchfield
Mar 17, 2021

Kelvin Gastelum has agreed to replace Paulo Costa and square off against Robert Whittaker in the UFC on ESPN 22 headliner on April 17.

ESPN was first to report the new booking. Costa was forced to pull out of the middleweight contest because an illness had limited his training leading up to the fight. UFC on ESPN 22 takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Gastelum was intially supposed to face Whittaker in a middleweight title bout at UFC 234 in February 2019 before Whittaker withdrew on the day of the fight to undergo surgery for a hernia.

Gastelum would later challenge for the interim 185-pound belt, losing a five-round decision to Israel Adesanya in's 2019 “Fight of the Year.” That was the start of the three-bout losing streak for “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist, who snapped the skid with a unanimous decision victory over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 on Feb. 13.

After losing the 185-pound belt to Adesanya in a first-round knockout at UFC 243, Whittaker has rebounded to post back-to-back decision triumphs over Darren Till and Jarred Cannonier.

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