Main Event Set; Fight Nixed After 7-Pound Miss – MMA Root

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A mid-weight clash with potential title implications has been set after the UFC held at ESPN 22 weight-ins, but the story that came out of it was Zarah Fairn dos Santos’ huge weight loss.

Saturday’s card is headed by former Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight king Robert Whitaker, who takes over from former top contender Kelvin Gastelum. Both main event fighters had zero weight problems, although the same could not be said for the rest of the card. Fairn dos Santos did not even make the featherweight for the 139 kg match against Josiane Nunes as she entered the 147 kg and the match was canceled as a result. Tracy Cortez also had weight management problems, though not as severe, as she came in at half a pound above the flight weight limit and was given an extra hour to gain weight.

Australia’s Whittaker (22-5) has recovered well from the dethronement of Israel Adesanya. “Bobby Knuckles” took two wins over contenders Darren Till and Jared Cannonier to bring him back to the title photo. A win here would make it three in a row and possibly put him in a rematch for the title he had previously held. Whittaker climbed the ladder to 185.5 pounds.

Paulo Costa’s replacement is Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC). The former title challenger was due to face Whittaker at UFC 234, but Whittaker suffered a collapsed bowel that led to emergency surgery on race day. Gastelum would lose to Adesanya in a five-round battle for the midfield, then fight Till and accept Jack Hermansson in his next two outings. Most recently, Gastelum broke his tripod with the victory of Ian Heinisch. Gastelum officially weighed 185 kg per dot.

The UFC on the main ESPN 22 card will be shown at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on ESPN, while the qualifiers starting at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT will be shown on both ESPN and ESPN +.

UFC to ESPN 22 Weighing results:

Robert Whittaker (185.5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185)
Jeremy Stephens (156) vs. Drakkar Klose (156)
Andrei Arlovski (250.5) vs. Chase Sherman (251)
Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5) vs. Jacob Malkoun (185.5)
Luis Pena (155) vs. Alex Munoz (155.5)
Tracy Cortez (126.5) * vs. Justine Kish (125.5)
Alexander Romanov (264) vs. Juan Espino (257)
Jessica Penne (116) vs. Lupita Godinez (116)
Gerald Meerschaert (185.5) vs. Bartosz Fabinski (184.5)
Dakota Bush (155.5) vs. Austin Hubbard (156)
Zarah Fairn dos Santos (147) ** against Josiane Nunes (136)
Tony Gravely (135.5) vs. Anthony Birchak (135.5)

* Cortez lost 0.5 kg and was given an extra hour to gain weight.
** Fairn dos Santos lost 7 kg and the match was canceled.


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