Robert Whittaker withdraws from UFC 234 with hernia

Kiwi Israel Adesanya will now be headlining UFC 234 in Melbourne on Sunday against Anderson Silva

SPORTKiwi Israel Adesanya will now be headlining UFC 234 in Melbourne on Sunday against Anderson Silva

"This is my belt, I earned this", he said.

After opening up the fight with the first two meaningful blows - a pair of kicks to Silva's leg and thigh respectively - Adesanya asserted his dominance with some punches and a knee to the head.

Whittaker is expected to be out of action for around four to six weeks as he recovers from his surgery and although there's no fight plan now in place, White has ruled out the possibility of him being stripped of his belt.

While Adesanya prevailed in what was billed as a No. 1 contender fight, it's unclear how the division will play out after champion Robert Whittaker withdrew from his title defense versus Kelvin Gastelum due to injury.

After three rounds of gripping action, Adesanya was unanimously declared the victor with scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27, taking his career record to 16-0.

If I'm playing basketball, to play against Michael Jordan.

The second round saw the best out of Silva all fight as he started to open up with his combinations and he began finding a home for his right hand on Adesanya's jaw. Insane week. I showed up to work, a lot of people didn't.

"You know the answer to that".

Originally billed as the co-main event, the Adesanya-Silva showdown was elevated to main event status, and it didn't disappoint.

"But, hey, Player one has the controller, so I showed up".

Earlier in the week UFC President Dana White confirmed that the victor of the bout would be next in line for a middleweight title shot, however with Whittaker's withdrawal, Adesanya will likely have to wait for the dust to settle between Gastelum and Whittaker.

The Australian crowd booed loudly at Adesanya's words towards the champion but he ultimately sent well wishes to Whittaker in his post fight speech.

But despite Gastelum's claims to the belt, UFC president Dana White told reporters that because of the relatively short recovery time needed following Whittaker's operation, the Australian would not be stripped of his world title. This is my life. "I'm going to go back to training, go back to see my family and maybe I fight in Curitiba".

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