UFC 234, the first pay-per-view offering of 2019 from the promotion, was scheduled to have featured a five-round fight between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum for the Middleweight title.
In the hours before the card, however, this changed. Saturday afternoon United States time, reports started circulating that Whittaker would not compete on the card due to injury (hernia).
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the news that the fight was off in a brief Twitter video the day of UFC 234:
During an interview with Megan Olivi on ESPN, UFC president Dana White explained the grim details behind the rationale for the postponement.
“This is one of those freak accidents where the doctors have literally never seen this type of injury in a young person”, White said. “You know, this usually happens to old people. His bowel and his intestines poked through the hole. It didn’t happen yesterday after the fight.”
“They think he’s had this problem and it’s been going in and out,” he continued, “and, you know, it’s one of those situations had it popped out during the fight, it could have been fatal for him.”
Whittaker will stay hospitalized for the next few days, according to a post made on his Facebook page by his management team:
In lieu of the canceled headliner, the UFC instead offered what was initially scheduled as the co-main event, Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva, as the new main event.
Boy, did this fight deliver.
In the first three-round UFC main event since UFC 137 on Oct. 29, 2011, the contest went the distance and Adesanya scored a unanimous decision win against Silva.
Think about it: Despite only going for three rounds Saturday night, this fight received more buzz from the fans in the run-up to the card than Whittaker vs. Gastelum received.
Adesanya connected on 49 percent of his total strikes, compared to 45 percent to Silva.
Should Adesanya and Silva fight again, the UFC should make it a five-round contest.
All in all, even though the advertised main event didn’t take place as scheduled this past weekend, UFC 234 was still an amazing night in MMA.
Best wishes to Whittaker in his recovery.
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