Medical Emergency Knocks Robert Whittaker Out of the UFC 234 Main Event

Medical Emergency Knocks Robert Whittaker Out of the UFC 234 Main Event

With Whittaker out, Anderson Silva's long-awaited return to the octagon against rising star Israel Adesanya has been elevated to the UFC 234 main event.

It marks the second time Whittaker has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled title fight down under, after a range of injuries kept him from fighting Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in Perth past year. White has also confirmed that Whittaker will be heading into surgery today to correct the issue that's forced this sudden change of events.

The New Zealand-born Australian was due to headline his home event at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday (03:00 GMT).

Per Okamoto, the hernia was not related to Whittaker's weight cut.

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He said being told his place at the top of the order was a bit of a shock, but he turned to his childhood hero for an example. Khaleel conceded 25 runs in his first two overs and there was no turning back for New Zealand from there.

But plans for Whittaker's first official title defence were thrown into disarray late on Saturday night when the 29-year-old complained of pain in his abdomen before being diagnosed with a hernia in hospital. It's just the second time two winners of "The Ultimate Fighter" will meet for a UFC title.

Other fights on the UFC 234 main card include Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon (Bantamweight), Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem (Women Flyweight) and Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey (Light Heavyweight). The Brazilian will take on a fighter 14 years his junior in Adesanya, who is sixth in the UFC middleweight rankings and 15-0 in his MMA career.

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This comes one year after Whittaker, in February 2018, was unable to defend his middleweight title against ex-champ Luke Rockhold in Australia due to injury.

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