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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 Sherdog.com’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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