The middleweight division is getting some clarity.
After UFC 234 was set to feature a middleweight title defense and a number one contender fight, the division looked promising. However, middleweight champion Robert Whittaker had to pull out of his title fight against Kelvin Gastelum on the day of the fight. He was rushed to the hospital where he had a collapsed bowel and a hernia.
That led to Gastelum not fighting on the card and Israel Adesanya fighting Anderson Silva in the main event. Ultimately, Adesanya defeated Silva by unanimous decision.
Following the fight, the question lingered on whether Gastelum would be skipped over by Adesanya to fight for the belt. Well, it appears they will be fighting each other for the interim title on UFC 236 according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Okamoto is reporting it is not known if that will be the main event, or where the fight will take place. However, the fight is agreed to according to UFC President, Dana White.
Gastelum is currently riding a two-fight winning streak after knocking out Michael Bisping and then beating ‘Jacare’ Souza by split-decision. Adesanya, meanwhile, is still undefeated. He is also 5-0 in the UFC with notable wins over Silva, Derek Brunson, and Brad Tavares among others.
While it should be no surprise Adesanya is fighting for the belt because he said he wouldn’t accept anything else.
“I’m the number one contender. I’m the guy fighting for the belt,” Adesanya said in his post-fight press conference. “I don’t care, Kelvin or Rob, whoever it is, I’m fighting for the belt.
“I did my job, I showed up to work.”
It is surprising the UFC is doing an interim title fight given Whittaker was only supposed to be out a few weeks. But, with UFC 236 just two months away, they needed to add fights to the card.