Robert Whittaker Out Of UFC 248 Bout Against Jared Cannonier
By Ross Markey
Former UFC middleweight champion, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker has withdrawn from his scheduled return against the surging, Jared ‘Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier at UFC 248 in March, due to undisclosed personal reasons.
The South Auckland native was set to meet Cannonier in a highly-anticipated bout, making his first Octagon appearance since his championship unification defeat to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 at the tail end of last year. News of Whittaker’s withdrawal was first noted by ESPN reporter, Ariel Helwani.
Division finisher, Cannonier, has made massive waves at 1845-pounds over the course of the year gone by, finishing David Branch, Anderson Silva, and in a main event slot at UFC Fight Night Copenhagen, stopped Jack Hermansson via a second-round knockout. The former heavyweight was expected to take place in a matchup which many billed as a middleweight championship eliminator – but must now find another opponent as the promotion aims to keep him on the Las Vegas card.
News of Whittaker’s withdrawal is sure to catch the attention of another recent division mover, former welterweight title chaser, Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till. The Liverpool Muay Thai practitioner was rumored to meet with the previously noted Hermansson at UFC London in March – with promotion head-honcho, Dana White, recently refuting those claims.
In what promises to be a card stacked high with 185-pound talent, a middleweight title bout between reigning division best, Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero widely expected to headline the event at the T-Mobile Arena.