Costa out, Gastelum in against Jared Cannonier for August main event

No. 2 ranked middleweight contender Paulo Costa (13-1) has pulled out of his Aug. 21 UFC Fight Night headliner against no. 4 ranked contender Jared Cannonier (13-5). 

Similarly to when Costa pulled out of his April 17 fight with Robert Whittaker at UFC Vegas 24, Costa will again be replaced by no. 9 ranked middleweight Kelvin Gastelum (16-7), according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

There is currently no word as to the reasoning of Costa’s withdrawal, but it is easy to imagine Gastelum jumped at another opportunity to fight a top five contender.

Gastelum has been plenty active in 2021. 

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The former interim title challenger then suffered a loss, albeit to no. 1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker, in his aforementioned short notice fill-in for Costa at UFC Vegas 24 by unanimous decision.

Cannonier has not fought since Oct. 2020, when he lost a unanimous decision to Robert Whittaker in the co-main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.

Despite Cannonier potentially losing out on the opportunity to ascend the middleweight ranks with Costa’s withdrawal, he will certainly have a game opponent in front of him in Kelvin Gastelum.