UFC 234: Israel Adesanya moves into main event after Robert Whittaker injury

A last minute injury suffered by Robert Whittaker has seen New Zealand's Isarel Adesanya thrust into the main event at UFC 234 in Melbourne.

Whittaker suffered severe abdominal pain on Saturday night and was later diagnosed with a hernia, meaning his title defence against Kelvin Gastleum has been removed from the card.

That sees Adesanya's fight against Brazilian great Anderson Silva promoted to the headline act at Rod Laver Arena. It will remain a three round fight, rather than the UFC standard of five for main events.

Whittaker's withdrawl could have wide-ranging implications for the middleweight title that Adesanya has designs on.

A win for Adesanya over Silva today would make him the next in line for a title shot, but the promotion may now opt to wait for Whittaker to recover to give Gastelum the chance he'd been expecting.

In turn, that would push back the timeline for Adesanya's bid for the belt as far as early 2020.

On the flipside of that coin, should Whittaker's injury be deemed severe enough to keep him out long term, an interim belt may be created for which Adesanya - given he gets past Silva - would likely challenge.

Whittaker was admitted for surgery on Sunday.