Jared Cannonier will not fight Paulo Costa in August.
MMA Fighting has confirmed with sources familiar with the new game that Kelvin Gastelum (17-7, 1 NC) will now face Cannonier (13-5) in the UFC card middleweight main event on August 21 after the opponent originally planned from Cannonier, Paulo. Costa was forced to withdraw. Cannonier and Gastelum verbally agreed to the match, but the contracts have yet to be signed.
The reason for Costa’s withdrawal was not disclosed.
ESPN was the first to report the change.
Cannonier now goes from a former title challenger to Costa to one at Gastelum, who fought Israel Adesanya for a vacant interim middleweight title at UFC 236. This will be the third time in Cannonier’s last four fights. that he’s up against a former UFC champion or a contestant who has contested a title. He’s coming off a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in October.
Gastelum’s most recent fight in April was also a unanimous decision loss to Whittaker, a result that has dropped Gastelum to just 1-4 in his last five outings. His only win in that streak was a unanimous decision victory over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258.
For Costa, this is the second consecutive reservation that Gastelum has to fill for him. It was Costa who was supposed to fight Whittaker in April before being forced to step down due to illness. “Borrachinha” has not competed since suffering his first professional loss to Adesanya in a middleweight championship fight at UFC 253 last September.