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Robert Whittaker vs Ikram Aliskerov

Chimaev Out, Aliskerov In Against Robert Whittaker For UFC Saudi Arabia

Former Middleweight Champion Headlines UFC’s First Event In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia Against Ikram Aliskerov

Ahead of UFC’s first event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on June 22, UFC CEO Dana White announced a change to the card’s headliner. Surging middleweight contender Ikram Aliskerov steps in for Khamzat Chimaev to face former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in what remains a high-profile and crucial matchup regarding the 185-pound title picture. 

After Aliskerov earned his UFC contract via Dana White’s Contender Series in September 2022, he arrived in 2023 with a pair of stunning finishes. His first came against Phil Hawes at UFC 288 before tacking on an even more impressive effort on Warlley Alves at UFC 294. The fights took a combined four minutes and 17 seconds, and the latter earned him his first Performance Bonus. The 31-year-old boasts a 15-1 record with his lone professional loss coming to Chimaev in April 2019. 

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He gets what is easily his toughest test to date in Whittaker, however. The 33-year-old fan-favorite got back into the winner’s circle at UFC 298 with a hard-fought decision win over Paulo Costa. Over the last decade, Whittaker has established himself as one of the best middleweights of his era. In 16 fights at 185 pounds, Whittaker has only lost to former champion Israel Adeanya and current champion Dricus Du Plessis. 

The bout is a gigantic opportunity for Aliskerov, who has struggled finding an opponent to continue his momentum from his rookie year whereas Whittaker is in a position to take on all comers as he continues to vie for another chance at regaining the middleweight title.