Israel Adesanya to face Kelvin Gastelum for interim middleweight belt at UFC 236

With middleweight champion Robert Whittaker still recovering from an abdominal hernia, the UFC has booked an interim title fight between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya for UFC 236, president Dana White told ESPN on Tuesday.

The pay-per-view event, scheduled for April 13, will take place at a venue to be determined.

Gastelum (15-3) was supposed to challenge Whittaker (20-4) for the 185-pound title at UFC 234 earlier this month in Melbourne, Australia. However, the bout was canceled just hours before the event after Whittaker, 28, was hospitalized with an abdominal hernia and underwent emergency surgery that day.

Whittaker, who fights out of Sydney, is still recovering from the procedure. His management recently told ESPN he is hoping to return this summer.

In the meantime, Gastelum will meet Adesanya (16-0), who is coming off a decision win over Anderson Silva at UFC 234. The undefeated Nigerian challenger is 5-0 in the UFC, with all five wins coming within a span of 12 months.