Breaking: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum title fight targeted for UFC 234 on Feb. 9 in Australia. Whittaker will get another chance to defend his title at home, after having to pull out last year. https://t.co/P8BN0gGB7m— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) November 3, 2018
At long last, Robert Whittaker will defend his middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 on Feb. 9 in Melbourne, Australia. The date and venue were first reported by ESPN.
Talking with ESPN, UFC President Dana White said Friday that the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be returning to Australia with the middleweight title on the line. While he did not officially provide a date, additional sources informed ESPN that they were targeting that date for a pay-per-view card in Melbourne. White also mentioned that he was considering booking an alternate on the card in the event that one of the two is forced to withdraw from the bout.
This event would be third held in the city of Melbourne, with the promotion first planting their flag there for UFC 193 “Rousey vs. Holm” in 2015. The UFC returned the following year for UFC Fight Night 101, headlined by Whittaker.
At that event, Whittaker dispatched Derek Brunson in the first round to earn both “Performance of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” bonuses, thus starting his streak of four straight contests earning post-fight bonuses. Whittaker last competed in June 2018, winning a non-title bout against Yoel Romero at UFC 225. While recovering from a hand injury, the first and only Australian UFC champion has been coaching Season 28 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Facing him for the belt will be rival “TUF 28” coach and middleweight contender Gastelum, who scored a split decision win over Ronaldo Souza this past May. In each of their respective previous four fights, Gastelum and Whittaker have combined for a total of eight post-fight bonuses.
UFC 234 will take place in Melbourne, Australia on Feb. 9, 2019 at a venue to be announced.