UFC Saudi Arabia: Whittaker vs. Aliskerov Fight Card, Predictions, & Odds

min read
Robert Whittaker, right, connects with Paulo Costa during their middleweight bout at the UFC 298 mixed martial arts event.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Jun 19, 2024, 7:36 PM
  • Robert Whittaker and Ikram Aliskerov headline the first UFC event in Saudi Arabia.
  • Aliskerov accepted the fight on short notice after Khamzat Chimaev pulled out due to injury.
  • Whittaker is the betting favorite at -140, while Aliskerov is the +115 betting underdog.

The UFC will have a fight card in Saudi Arabia for the first time this weekend as the match between No. 3-ranked divisional contender and former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker takes on the challenge of rising contender Ikram Aliskerov inside the Kingdom Arena.

Whittaker’s initial opponent, Khamzat Chimaev, has pulled out of the fight due to an illness he suffered, but Aliskerov willingly accepted the short-notice fight to have the opportunity of cracking a spot in the top 15 rankings.

Because of this sudden change of opponent, Whittaker is tagged as the betting favorite in UFC odds at -140 against Aliskerov, who takes the +115 underdog tag. Another reason for their roles at the sportsbook is that the former champion has enjoyed an entire camp and preparation.

Robert Whittaker Recent Fight Results

Whittaker is a UFC veteran who made his promotional debut in 2012. Since competing inside the octagon, he won 16 of his 21 matches. He became the king of the middleweights in July 2017 when he defeated Yoel Romero via a unanimous decision.

He lost the title to Israel Adesanya in October 2019, but has become a top contender in the 185-pound weight class. Whittaker has split his last four fights, but won his latest bout against Paulo Costa in February at UFC 298 with a masterful unanimous decision win.

Ikram Aliskerov Recent Fight Results

Before earning a roster spot with the UFC, Aliskerov has become a top contender in the Middle East by chalking up 12 wins and one loss in various MMA promotions. His route to the Las Vegas-based promotion was through Dana White’s Contender Series in September 2022, during which he submitted Mario Sousa in the opening round.

Aliskerov made his octagon debut in May 2023 and knocked out Phil Hawes in the first round of their fight at UFC 288. Five months later, he scored another incredible first-round TKO victory against Warlley Alves at UFC 294 to maintain his 100% finish rate under the UFC banner.

Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov: Tale of the Tape

Robert WhittakerIkram Aliskerov
Reach73.5 inches76 inches
Leg Reach43 inches40 inches
Fighting StyleBrazilian Jiu-JitsuSambo
Finishing Rate58%73%

Robert Whittaker vs. Ikram Aliskerov: Fight Analysis

The tale of the tape between the two middleweight contenders reveals that both are standing at 6 feet but have different reach and leg reach lengths. The edge in reach favors Aliskerov, who has a 2.5-inch longer reach against Whittaker. However, Whittaker will enjoy 3 inches of leg reach during the fight.

Stylistically, both fighters have a strong foundation in grappling, albeit from different disciplines. Whittaker, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, and Aliskerov, with a Sambo background, bring unique approaches to the fight. In terms of finishing rate, Aliskerov, with a higher percentage of 15%, has a slight edge over Whittaker’s 58%.

Although they have strong grappling foundations, Whittaker and Aliskerov are well-rounded fighters with elite-level striking; in fact, 40% of their wins under their records were via TKO/KOs. This is excellent proof that they can fight and thrive on their feet and in the clinch.

The primary key for Whittaker in this fight is to overwhelm Aliskerov with his constant pressure and volume throughout the match since this has been his trend in his past fights. His last five fights were won on the judges’ scorecards with dominance and commanding performances.

On the other side of the fence, Aliskerov should start early and be on Whittaker’s face to start. This strategy would disrupt his approach of starting slow in fights to download the necessary data to beat his opponent. Additionally, it could earn Aliskerov early respect for his striking and grappling, which would be a threat throughout the fight.

However, I think that Whittaker’s experience and championship pedigree will be too much for Aliskerov to handle because he’s already fought the best fighters in the division. This isn’t a knock against Aliskerov, but with all due respect, Whittaker would maul him in their upcoming showdown.

Official Prediction: Unanimous decision victory for Robert Whittaker.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.