Robert Whittaker out of UFC 234 title defense due to injury

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Israel "Style Bender" Adesanya will look to improve his unblemished UFC record to 16-0 this Saturday, February 9, as he takes on veteran Anderson Silva at UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Extra weight was added to the Adesanya-Silva fight when UFC president Dana White announced on Friday that it would be for the No.1 middleweight contender spot.

It marks the second time Whittaker has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled title fight in Australia. That would have been Whittaker's first bout since being named middleweight champion following Georges St Pierre's surrendering of the title. Lando Vannata and Marcos Mariano's lightweight matchup will also be elevated to co-main status.

"He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a hernia", ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto revealed.

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

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

Last year, he was scheduled to defend the title against Luke Rockhold at UFC 221, but he was forced out weeks before the event due to a staph infection that went mistreated.

Gastelum's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, appeared on ESPN Radio following the news of Whittaker's withdrawal and said he believes his client will be compensated by the UFC brass.

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