Multiple sources have confirmed that women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes has been forced out of her title defense against Valentina Shevchenko on the day of the event. As a result, the interim middleweight title bout between Cuban Yoel Romero and New Zealand native Robert Whittaker will take the night’s top billing.
The Brazilian Nunes was looking to defeat Shevchenko for second time, having earned a decision win at UFC 196 last year. However the 29-year-old fell ill during fight week and was unable to compete.
The 40-year-old Romero enters the match-up with Whittaker having won eight straight bouts inside the Octagon. The Olympic wrestler has scored knockout finishes in 10 of his 12 career wins.
Whittaker, meanwhile, rides a similar wave of momentum. The 26-year-old has won seven straight bouts, including a second-round TKO finish of former Strikeforce titleholder Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC on Fox 24 in April.
The five-fight UFC 213 main card airs live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET. It will be preceded by six preliminary card bouts; four of which will air on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, with the first two bouts streaming live on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET.
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