UFC 236 fight card: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya interim middleweight title bout set

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UFC 236 on April 13 will see an interim middleweight champion crowned. UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Tuesday that a bout for the interim 185-pound title between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya has been booked for the event, though it's not yet known whether the bout will serve as the main event of the card that still hasn't determined a location in which it'll take place. Ariel Helwani of ESPN is reporting that potentially holding the event in both New York and Atlanta has been discussed. 

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Reigning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was scheduled to defend his title against Gastelum (15-3) at UFC 234 on Feb. 9, but was forced to pull out of the defense the day of the event after requiring emergency surgery for an abdominal hernia and bowel obstruction. There was no replacement set for Gastelum, who instead decided to parade around Melbourne, Australia, with Henry Cejudo's flyweight championship while proclaiming himself the new middleweight champion due to Whittaker's withdrawal from the fight. 

Adesanya (16-0) is one of the fastest-rising stars in UFC currently, and on that same UFC 234 card in the replacement main event, earned the biggest win of his life. The 29-year-old stepped into the Octagon with legendary former middleweight champion Anderson Silva and came away with the unanimous decision victory following what was a thrilling three rounds of action between the old and new guard of the 185-pound division. 

Since the events of Feb. 9, both Gastelum and Adesanya have laid their respective claims to title shots against a healthy Whittaker at some point, but now the plan entails them dueling with one another leading up to an eventual showdown with the true middleweight king. 

There is no timetable at this point for the return of Whittaker, though his team seems to be optimistic that the champ could make his way back to the Octagon by the summer. 

Jack joined CBS Sports in 2018 as an editor and writer covering college football, combat sports and golf. He was raised to love the New York Yankees unconditionally since birth and firmly believes a four-team... Full Bio

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