Jared Canonier will not fight Paulo Costa in August.
MMA Fighting confirmed with sources who know about the new match that Calvin Gastellum (17-7, 1 NC) will now face Cannonier (13-5) in the main event in the middleweight category of the UFC card on August 21, after the initial Cannonier’s scheduled opponent Paulo Costa was forced to step down. Canonier and Gastelum agreed orally for the match, but contracts are still to be signed.
ESPN was the first to announce the change.
Canonie is now moving from one former contender for the Costa title to another in Gastelum, who is battling Israel Adesanya for a vacant midfield title in UFC 236. This will be the third time in Canonie̵
Gastellum’s last battle in April was also a unanimous loss of decision for Whitaker, a result that brought Gastellum to just 1-4 in his last five outings. His lone victory during that stretch was a unanimous victory over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258.
For Costa, this is the second consecutive reservation in which Gastelum has to fill it. It was Costa who had to fight Whitaker in April before he was forced to retire due to illness. Borrachinha has not competed since suffering its first professional loss to Adesanya in a UFC 253 middleweight championship match last September.
UPDATE: The reason for Costa’s withdrawal was not initially announced. He later turned to Twitter to explain that he had never signed a contract to fight Cannonier and that he was looking for better compensation for booking major events.