Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

Robert Whittaker ruled out of UFC 234 title defence

It is understood a devastated Whittaker will undergo surgery on Sunday.

Adesanya vs Silva will be the co-main event of UFC 234, with Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker putting his title on the line against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event. "It wasn't a weight-cutting related issue or anything like that, it's just a very unfortunate hernia issue which may even require a procedure".

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.

ESPN's Ariel Helwani does not paint a pretty picture of what occurred that night, with Whittaker now in surgery.

Whittaker, fresh off winning the middleweight belt, had been scheduled to mount his first title defense in February 2018 against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.

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Silva was guaranteed a title shot by White if he defeats Adesanya at UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne this weekend.

Despite being elevated to the main event, Adesanya's bout will remain a three-round fight.

This marks the second time that Whittaker has been slated to fight in Australia, but been unable to compete because of complications.

Abdelaziz said White told him that the UFC will "take care" of Gastelum.