UFC: Israel Adesanya to face American Kelvin Gastelum for interim title of middleweight



Israel Adesanya, left, defeated Anderson Silva in his last fight.

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Israel Adesanya, left, defeated Anderson Silva in his last fight.

Israel Adesanya will fight for the interim middleweight title at UFC 236.

UFC director, Dana White, confirmed to ESPN that Adesanya would meet American Kelvin Gastelum (15-3) on a date that has not yet been determined, on 14 April.

Adesanya will replace Australian Robert Whittaker, who is still recovering from the hernia that had ruled him out of UFC 234 in Melbourne earlier this month.

Gastelum is No. 4 in the UFC average ranking with Adesanya at No. 5.

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Whittaker was to meet Gastelum in the main event. However, the fight could not continue because Whittaker was taken to the hospital with an abdominal hernia and required surgery.

But Whittaker's misfortune opened the door for Kiwi Adesanya, a Nigerian, who extended his undefeated record by defeating Anderson Silva in Melbourne.

The interim fight for the title is expected to take place in New York or Abu Dhabi.

Whittaker said his recovery schedule after the surgery could be anywhere from June to August and that the UFC has continued its efforts to keep the top of this highly competitive division alive.

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UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker responds to comments from Kiwi star Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya, nicknamed "The Last Style Bender", has a 16-0 victory as an MMA fighter and has five wins in the year since joining the UFC.

The winner of the April showdown, a pay-per-view event, is expected to face Whittaker's resumption later this year in a title-breaking bout.


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