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With Robert Whittaker v. Kelvin Gastelum axed, what fight will main event UFC 230 at MSG?

The UFC have a few months to replace one major fight with another as they make their return to MSG

Normally, it isn’t until the final few days of a UFC PPV where something goes wrong. Whether it is a fighter missing weight or someone throwing a dolly at a bus filled with fighters inside, stacked UFC cards are always cursed. This time, the MMA Gods have given us time to prepare for a replacement for one of the most anticipated fights of the year.

A few days ago, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker will be taking the rest of the year off in order to recover from injuries sustained during his last fight against Yoel Romero at UFC 225. His planned bout against Kelvin Gastelum for the title at UFC 230 inside Madison Square Garden has now been scrapped. Both fighters are still expected to be coaches during the final “The Ultimate Fighter” TV series.

It is a punch to the gut for many MMA fans who were excited for the UFC’s return to The Garden. The question on everyone’s mind is simple: what bout will the UFC add to bring people back in?

It shouldn’t be that hard, considering there are plenty of matchups to make. They could put Gastelum in an interim title fight, but with interim titles going around like candy, it might not be the most ideal move for him.

One fight they could add is the rumored Cris Cyborg v. Amanda Nunes bout. This has been a long time coming, but both fighters can’t agree on a set date. An early September bout has been offered, as well as a late December one. Why not meet in the (somewhat) middle and have the fight in November? What better way to showcase the two best female fighters in MMA today by having it under the bright lights of New York City? Now that would be something.

If that doesn’t work out, you also have the possibility of a Tyron Woodley Welterweight Title fight. While that might not main event the card, he has several opponents waiting for him. A fight against either Colby Covington or Darren Till could bring in an interesting atmosphere to The Garden. Remember, one of Woodley’s best fights was at The Garden, against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205.

What about the return of Conor McGregor? He made history at UFC 205, while also bringing in fans from all over the world. His legal troubles might affect any plans for future fights, but anything is possible. Imagine Conor v. Khabib Nurmagomedov inside MSG and try to say you wouldn’t be interested.

With plenty of time left until the big dance, the UFC has a lot to think about. What fight will get you to buy tickets to UFC 230?

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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