Official: Robert Whittaker will defend UFC middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in Melbourne

It’s officially official, Australia will get its second pay-per-view event in as many years next February.

Reigning UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will defend his title against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in Melbourne on February 10.

The fight and location were made official today by UFC President Dana White on Channel 10’s The Project. The date was first reported by Brett Okamoto of ESPN last week.

The fight will take place at the Rod Laver Arena. It will be the organisation’s third trip to Melbourne after they visited for UFC 193 in 2015 and UFC Fight Night 101 in 2016.

Whittaker has been pushing for the opportunity to defend his title in Australia after he was forced to pull out of UFC 221 in Perth earlier this year due to a series of injuries.

He went on to defeat Yoel Romero at UFC 225 in Chicago in June after breaking his hand in the first round of the contest. The fight against Gastelum will be Whittaker’s first official defense of the middleweight title after Romero was deemed ineligible to win the belt in their last fight due to missing weight.

Gastelum (15-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is currently riding a two-fight winning streak after knocking out Michael Bisping in the first round and picking up a split-decision win of Ronaldo Souza.

Whittaker and Gastelum are both coming off coaching The Ultimate Fighter, the show that they both won earlier in their careers.

The Melbourne event will cap off a busy time for the UFC in Australia as they also head to Adelaide in December for Tai Tuivasa vs. Junior Dos Santos.

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My earliest combat sports memory is watching David Tua knock people out with his left hook.  I am extremely passionate about combat sports in Australia and my home country of New Zealand and I endeavour to grow the profile of martial arts and its athletes in both countries. Persistent Brazilian jiu-jitsu battler.