Paulo Costa is out of his UFC Fight Night main event; however, fans will get a fight two years in the making as Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum make good on their planned fight from UFC 234.
Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa main event scrapped, Kelvin Gastelum steps in
A blockbuster UFC Fight Night headliner will be, at best, delayed.
Robert Whittaker (22-5) and Paulo Costa (13-1) were scheduled to meet in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card on Saturday, April 17. Costa has pulled out from the fight due to severe flu, as first reported by Ag Fight.
Robert Whittaker's camp is calling for a UFC middleweight title fight against Israel Adesanya instead. The promotion is also considering rescheduling the fight for May 1 or May 8, per MMA Fighting.
ESPN's Brett Okamoto subsequently reported that Whittaker will indeed fight on April 17 with Kelvin Gastelum serving as a replacement. Whittaker vs. Gastelum was previously supposed to take place in 2019. Whittaker was forced to pull out of their fight at UFC 234 hours before showtime to undergo emergency surgery. He had an abdominal hernia of the intestine and a twisted, collapsed bowel.
The one that got away in 2019, is now scheduled for next month. Per sources, Kelvin Gastelum (@KelvinGastelum) replaces Paulo Costa in April 17 main event against Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma). pic.twitter.com/qfSrsTrbYq— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) March 16, 2021
Carlos Felipe vs. Jake Collier at UFC 263
Carlos Felipe has a fight booked and a shiny new four-fight deal with the UFC.
Felipe (10-1) is coming off a split decision win over Justin Tafa at UFC's inaugural ABC network event in January. He will meet Jake Collier (12-5) who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Gian Villante late last year. The news was first reported by MMA Fighting.
The fight will take place at UFC 263 on June 12. The card is expected to be headlined by UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno.
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Movsar Evloev at UFC 263
Another fight added to UFC 263 is a featherweight scrap between Canada's Hakeem Dawodu (12-1) and Russia's Movsar Evloev (14-0).
Dawodu has won five straight in the UFC after losing his debut via technical submission. Evloev is a perfect 4-0 with four decision wins in his tenure with the promotion. The fight was first announced by MMA DNA.
Johnny Eduardo out of Anthony Birchak fight
Johnny Eduardo vs. Anthony Birchak will no longer take place at UFC Vegas 22.
The fight scheduled for Saturday, March 20 was scrapped after Eduardo was forced to pull out due to visa issues, according to MMA Fighting. He has not fought in 33 months. The UFC is seeking a replacement for Birchak on the card.
UFC Vegas 22 will be headlined by ranked middleweights Derek Brunson and Kevin Holland.
Mandel Nallo needs an opponent
Canadian Bellator prospect Mandel Nallo needs an opponent after Keoni Diggs pulled out of their fight at Bellator 255, per MMA Junkie.
Nallo (7-1) was looking to bounce back from a no-contest vs. Saad Awaad (due to an accidental groin shot) and a TKO loss via leg kicks in his last two outings.
Bellator 255 is scheduled for April 2 and is headlined by a Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix world title fight between Patricio Freire and Emmanuel Sanchez.