A middleweight interim title fight between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya has been booked for UFC 236.
Earlier today, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported that Dana White has confirmed that a matchup between Gastelum and Adesanya will take place on that April 13 pay-per-view card. The location is yet to be announced.
Gastelum was initially scheduled to fight middleweight champion Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title at UFC 234 on Feb. 9.
However, Whittaker was forced to withdraw from his first title defense after experiencing a twisted and collapsed bowel in addition to an internal hernia of the intestine. The champion was transported to the hospital just hours before UFC 234 commenced.
After the title fight between Gastelum and Whittaker did not eventuate, White declared that the next move all “depends on how fast this guy [Robert Whittaker] can recover. If he can recover fast, we’ll turn him and Kelvin around quick.”
It was expected that Whittaker would need four to six weeks to properly recover. However, it might take even longer to regain full health and commence an intense training camp.
With Whittaker sidelined for an unknown period, the UFC has proceeded to book Gastelum vs. Adesanya in a bout that will determine Whittaker’s next opponent.
Gastelum enters this interim title fight on a two-fight winning streak after securing a split decision victory against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and knocking out Michael Bisping.
Adesanya joined the UFC in February 2018 and has since proceeded to defeat five opponents in less than 12 months. His most recent victory was a three-round unanimous decision win against Anderson Silva in the UFC 234 main event. By defeating Gastelum, Adesanya will set up a highly-anticipated Trans-Tasman showdown against Whittaker.